GAO report: Guam's debt nearly doubles over last decade - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

GAO report: Guam's debt nearly doubles over last decade

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The U.S. Government Accountability Office has released a report, detailing how Guam's debt has nearly doubled in the last 10 years.

A growing trend - according to the GAO, from 2005 to 2015, Guam's public debt more than doubled from nearly $1 billion to $2.5 billion. The report states most of the island's debt was used to comply with federal requirements and court orders. And while revenue grew during this time and despite recent and expected economic growth, the GAO found that large unfunded pension and other post-employment benefit and retirement liabilities ... including health care and life insurance premiums, and deferred compensation - may present a risk.

Legislative Speaker BJ Cruz issued a statement following the release of the GAO'S report stating, "The GAO's report speaks for itself. Guam has a debt problem and some island leaders seem committed to making that problem even worse. The same report indicates that while GovGuam's revenues collections have near hit record levels, our debt has climbed at an even greater pace."

The speaker also included the declining seat capacity from Japan and the recent North Korean aggressions.

The GAO based its report on audits, interviews with officials, ratings agencies and subject matter experts - analyzing trends and the ability of each territory to repay their obligations.

According to the GAO most of Guam's debt is in the form of bonds, with bonded debt comprising of up to 97 percent of obligations. The report states most of Guam's bonded debt outstanding will mature in 2027 or after meaning the government must pay off its obligations.

In the last year, government officials have discussed attaining more bonds for capital improvement projects at the Guam Memorial Hospital and the Port Authority of Guam.

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