Legislature, administration hoping for swift budget process - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Legislature, administration hoping for swift budget process

Posted: Updated:
 by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - Lawmakers are finally in receipt of the substituted budget proposal for the next fiscal year. And while there are slight differences compared to the governor's proposal, senators from both sides of the aisle are hoping for something not only quick but one both parties can agree on.

Lawmakers met in session this afternoon expected to discuss the substituted version of bill 269 better known as the budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2015. With the passing of Senator Ben Pangelinan, Vice Speaker BJ Cruz is overseeing the Committee on Appropriations, and said, "It's fairly close - we've addressed all the three priorities of public safety, education and public health."

Cruz says while both public safety and public health are addressed in the same way, education for example, has not received everything the department has asked for. He says however, it is more than what was received last year and more than what the governor requested for. "The overall budget, the revenue came out more as far as the general revenue was, we determined it would be about a million and a half less of what the governor proposed but the overall budget revenue is actually up about $7 million," he said.

Cruz adds the Competitive Wage Act costs are covered along with an increase to COLA by $200 per retiree. As for some of the changes, in the governor's proposal the provision for tax refunds was at $118 million. Substituted Bill 269 instead has it at over $121 million or a $3.2 million increase. The General Fund total in the substituted version is at $644.9 million or $1.2 million less in Bill 269. As for the total revenues, the substituted version shows a total of $827.8 million or an increase of $7.3 million compared to the governor's proposal.

He said, "The reason for that is last week we received the budget from GVB 0213 and GVB informed us that they believe that in the current year they'll reach $32 million and they believe that next year, they'll be able to get to $36 million because the Dusit Thani and the Lotte (Hotel) will be open a full year."

Cruz adds along with the Tourist Attraction Fund, the Territorial Highway Fund and the Section 2718 Fund related to the medical loss ratio also attributed to the changes. And just as he hoped for a fairly quick process, so does Minority Leader Tony Ada. He said"We just got the budget before we went into session about 11 am this morning, the vice speaker forwarded it to us so we're getting this opportunity to recess and review the budget as presented to us."

And while we've seen bills added to the agenda without lawmakers even seeing them yet before, Ada says he's appreciative of the consideration by the majority, noting, "I hope this budget session comes out to be something that everyone can work with both the legislature and administration and comes out good for the government."

And while the budget was not discussed today, lawmakers did discuss Bill 385 that would appropriate funds to the Guam Office of Veterans Affairs to fulfill funding requirements for three approved veteran cemetery grants totaling $260,000. The bill was passed unanimously by lawmakers. Session meanwhile resumes tomorrow at 1pm. 
  • NEWS HEADLINESMore>>

  • Bill allows people to identify as transgender without sex change operation

    Bill allows people to identify as transgender without sex change operation

    Legislation has been introduced that would allow individuals who identify as transgender to change their birth certificates without having to undergo a sex change operation. Supporters say similar laws have now been passed in 19 states and 200 cities acroMore >>
    Legislation has been introduced that would allow individuals who identify as transgender to change their birth certificates without having to undergo a sex change operation. Supporters say similar laws have now been passed in 19 states and 200 cities acroMore >>
  • Gubernatorial teams scheduled for D18 Tonight this week

    Gubernatorial teams scheduled for D18 Tonight this week

    We are in the final home stretch...less than one week away from the primary election. Do you know who you are voting for? This week on D18 Tonight, KUAM will give you one last look at each of the gubernatorial teams on our exclusive digital show - the AftMore >>
    We are in the final home stretch...less than one week away from the primary election. Do you know who you are voting for? This week on D18 Tonight, KUAM will give you one last look at each of the gubernatorial teams on our exclusive digital show - the AftMore >>
  • DOC secures money for clinic

    DOC secures money for clinic

    It's one financial crisis averted…for now. The Department of Corrections will be getting nearly all of the money the agency needs to keep its clinical services for inmates and detainees going. DepCor director Tony Lamorena says the budget for the uMore >>
    It's one financial crisis averted…for now. The Department of Corrections will be getting nearly all of the money the agency needs to keep its clinical services for inmates and detainees going. DepCor director Tony Lamorena says the budget for the uMore >>
Powered by Frankly