Brief filed in relation to legislature's request for judgment - News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Brief filed in relation to legislature's request for judgment

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by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - Assistant Attorney General Shannon Taitano filed a brief late this afternoon on behalf of Attorney General Leonardo Rapadas. The brief was filed in relation to the legislature's request for a declaratory judgment from the Supreme Court. The legislature is asking the court to determine whether money in the tax refund efficient payment trust fund can be used for other purposes other than tax refunds.

Taitano argues that the legislature has the power to enact legislation not inconsistent with the Organic Act and federal laws. She says the Guam Legislature has the authority to set aside tax payments and to limit the use of those funds adding the court should uphold the validity of the act and find that it unambiguously limits the use of such funds for the specific purposes of the law. In the legislature's opening brief, they claim the governor has been expending these funds contrary to restrictions contained in the Income Tax Efficient Payment Trust Fund Act.

The brief notes that the committee on appropriations had submitted a request to the AG to review the laws related to the Tax Refund Trust Fund and the withdrawals made from the account by the Executive Branch. The AG was in the process of issuing its response to the legislature when the request for declaratory judgment was filed. The Attorney General's Office agrees the issue raised in the judgment is of great public importance and the subject matter of the inquiry is appropriate for review. She does however note that the governor has been paying tax refunds in a timely manner. Because of this, she adds it appears that not all the jurisdictional requirements have been met for this declaratory relief action because there are no dire circumstances to resolve that could not be addressed through the normal process of law and therefore the matter may not be ripe for consideration by the court.

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