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Governor sees substitute budget as defective

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While it's essentially veto-proof, Governor Eddie Calvo is expressing his disappointment with senators for passing a what he calls a "defective" substituted budget bill that he says will cause major consequences in the delivery of government services.

"We'll make it work, because it's a veto-proof bill, so it is not my intention to veto the bill, I'm not going to sign it, it will potentially lapse into law," said the governor. That bill is the recently-passed substituted budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2016. Prior to the bill's passage by a vote of 13-1 on Monday, Governor Calvo raised his concerns saying the bill underfunds critical agencies and programs, adding, "I am disappointed 13 senators read my letter and read our spreadsheet but still choose to vote on the bill."

Minority Leader Tony Ada was the only lawmaker who voted against the bill. Calvo said, "We are now in what we believe been presented a defective bill that will cause major consequences in terms of delivery of service by this government."

Appropriations chairman Vice Speaker BJ Cruz, in a release called the budget a financially conservative measure. It's a measure he says ensures that tax refunds are set aside, revenues remain at conservative levels, hires 70 new public safety personnel and provides an increase in appropriation levels to government agencies compared to FY15. And while this budget is "conservative," Cruz says if revenue projections are accurate to what the Executive Branch presented, the governor can call lawmakers back halfway through the fiscal year to resolve any issues.

"But that would be irresponsible of me, to move and budget and allow my agencies to spend on what we had originally predicted and go to the point then six months down the road, the vice speaker says call us into session," he said.

And while he feels senators failed to heed his warning on the bill, he is counting on the oversight chairs to help resolve the gaps and shortfalls presented with this budget. "And because of what has occurred, they have now a responsibility to work with this administration in resolving some major areas where we do believe there will be a reduction in services and potentially tough decisions that need to be made in terms of personnel, as well," said the governor.

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