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War of words between Adelup & Democrat senators

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by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - The war of words continues between Adelup and the Democrats in the Legislature this time over comments made about the payment of tax refunds on social media. While Senator Rory Respicio claims that refunds are late because of funds being used for operational needs instead, the Governor's Office is fighting back saying not only are they on time, but that Senator Respicio is lying.

It started over comments on Facebook about the payment of tax refunds. On a post made on Guam Grabs, Senator Respicio claimed that Governor Calvo "used $50 million in tax refund money for operations, and now people have to wait again for their refund checks."

"So where Senator Respicio is getting that we withdrew that $50 million and didn't use that for tax refunds. I have no idea and I wished he was here to answer that because he didn't have a problem lying about it in social media and to the rest of the media, " said Adelup director of communications Troy Torres. He invited Senator Respicio to a meeting at Adelup to provide all the facts and documents to substantiate his claims. Despite Respicio's absence, Torres continued with his presentation over the payment of tax refunds.

Along with saying Respicio's comment were a "bold faced lie" Torres outlined several points notably that tax refunds are not late and they are in fact being paid faster than anyone has ever paid them in over 20 years. As part of the presentation, Torres gave an overview of what's been budgeted for tax refunds, what's actually been deposited and what's been paid out to the people of Guam in the last decade.

"Its a savings account that is at the Bank of Guam and what happens is the law requires every month as we collect income taxes both corporate and individual income taxes, we set aside a certain percentage of those taxes into this trust fund," he said.

Today, Torres along with DOA director Benita Manglona and Rev & Tax director John Camacho says the trust fund has no bearing of what's actually paid in tax refunds evident for example of what's occurred in FY2013 between October 2012 and December 2013. "This is how much the legislature told us to pay in tax refunds $113 million, this is how much we deposited into that trust fund account $130 million, the most that's ever been deposited into that account and despite the law telling us to pay $113 million and despite the other law telling us to pay up to $130 million, we actually paid out $137 million in tax refunds for Fiscal Year 2013," he said.

They further add the trust fund has never been utilized properly until Governor Calvo came into office. As for Respicio's claims over $50 million in funds used for operational needs, Torres states simply it's untrue as no funds from the trust have been used for other those purposes. As for Respicio's request for why refunds are not being paid up to February 7, Torres says that's because refunds have only been processed up to February 5.

Meanwhile this Friday, an estimated $14 million in tax refunds is set to be paid for those filed up to February 3. The Governor's Office notes that for this calendar year up until February 5, over 11,000 taxpayers have filed their claims - more than double the amount made this time last year. Senator Respicio noted that he would only entertain a response through a meeting with the governor.

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