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Weekend session continues

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Senators went back into special session at around 10:30 this morning after the Hagatna Police Precinct, Piti and Astumbo Fire Stations closed at 8:00am.

Senators are discussing another bill sent down by the Governor to address the financial crisis facing the public sector, brought on by federal tax reforms. Govguam is facing a $67 million shortfall. Bill 1-6S is essentially the same as the previous measures sent down by Adelup including raising the BPT from 4% to 6%, but adds a new section that would require weekly meetings of the Special Economic Services.

The latest special session began with the introduction of an amendment by Senator Dennis Rodriguez, Jr. His amendment would remove the proposal to increase the BPT and instead would call for the following:

1-    Implementing a 4% increase on the net income received by banks, banking institutions, building and loan associations, small lending businesses or lending institutions
2-    Repeal qualifying certificates for insurance companies
3-    Remove BPT exemptions on insurance premiums
4-    Implement a 45 health insurance premium fee on all healthcare insurane premiums paid on guam for the coverage of company employees and their dependents, or individuals.

Just before 12:30pm the amendment failed. Sen. Joe San Agustin and Sen. James Espaldon were recused from voting. In a press release Sen. Rodriguez stated that if the amendment was not successful he would introduce another one that would:

·   Unfund the Governor’s Office except for $100,000, which the Governor can use to fund a scaled-down operation;
·   Unfund the Legislature except for $100,000 for scaled-down operations
·   Discontinue the authorization for the Governor & the Legislature to use funds that lapsed from previous years’ unused appropriations;
·   Prohibits any spending on the salaries and benefits of all but a select group of directors and deputy directors of the Executive Branch;
·   These appropriations and continuing appropriations will be restored if and when the governor revokes any and all notices of furlough or reduction in force and certifies that a fiscal crisis no longer exists; and
·   Prohibit anyone displaced by these policies from cashing in their annual leave hours that accrued.
 
 
Senators are now in recess until 2:30pm.

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