Supreme Court finds governor may not withdraw, transfer funds - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Supreme Court finds governor may not withdraw, transfer funds

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by Krystal Paco

Guam - The Supreme Court of Guam has issued its declaratory judgment in the legislature's case against the governor. As we reported the democrats allege Governor Eddie Calvo is using money from the Income Tax Refund Efficient Payment Trust Fund for operations and want the court to clarify whether money in the fund can only be used for tax refunds.

The Supreme Court found that the governor may not withdraw or transfer funds from the trust fund to pay General Fund obligations, even if the withdrawn funds are deemed to be "advances" from the trust fund that are repaid at a later date, or the return of previous "advances" of the trust fund.  The court in the meantime declined to address the parties' competing factual allegations or engage in a factual inquiry to determine whether the governor violated the law.

The unanimous opinion was authored by Chief Justice Robert Torres and joined by Justices F. Philip Carbullido and Katherine Maraman.

Adelup responded with a release:
-       Tax refunds are being paid on time for the first time in two decades.

-       We were basically sued for paying tax refunds faster than the law required by fronting cash from the General Fund, paying tax refunds, then reimbursing the General Fund what it paid for tax refunds. The suit served no purpose, especially when the Legislature had two decades to sue previous governors for being years late in the payment of refunds.

-       Last fiscal year, we were required by law to pay $113 million in tax refunds. We paid over $130 million – $17 million more than required. If we had followed the law strictly, taxpayers would have been shorted millions in tax refunds.

-       Why the Legislature would insist on a measure that makes it more complicated to pay tax refunds is beyond our comprehension. The Legislature has stood in our way from the very beginning of Governor Calvo’s term, when he started his campaign to pay back all the tax refunds owed to them. Clearly, these elements have stood true to their belief that they would rather owe the people than the bank.

-       While we can take this apart piece by piece, we see no value in doing so. The Governor remains undeterred in his commitment to pay your refunds on time. Tax refunds are being paid on time, and faster than they’ve ever been paid in Guam history.


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