Adelup apologizes for data errors
by Mindy Aguon
Guam - The Calvo Administration says the clock is ticking for lawmakers to give them authorization to spend an additional $36 million, otherwise they warn that there won't be enough revenues to operate the Government of Guam between July and September of this year. Late this afternoon the Administration submitted their supplemental authorization request to lawmakers detailing the government's shortfall and where they've identified potential revenues to help get the government through this fiscal year.
"If the governor is saying that's not good enough anymore," said Senator Ben Pangelinan, "then I don't know what's good enough anymore. What can we rely on?" Just a day after Pangelinan, the Finance and Taxation Committee chairman, called out the administration for giving erroneous figures on the government's revenues, Adelup fires back.
Communications director for the governor Troy Torres added, "We're sorry for the error in the reporting and hopefully we can move forward from here. And if that's what he's looking for, perhaps we can move passed a petty press release and go on with handling the business of the people of Guam and getting them their tax refunds."
And the administration hopes to make that happen by asking lawmakers to approve its $36.2 million supplemental authorization request. Faced with a $22 million shortfall for the current fiscal year, not including unfunded liabilities like the $11 million needed for the remainder of GovGuam employees and retirees health and dental insurance and the Mental Health permanent injunction, Torres says it's crucial that lawmakers review the latest figures and approve the request, noting, "If the supplemental budget doesn't pass sometime in the fourth quarter of the fiscal year services won't be able to be provided so that's another error that we need to fix."
The Administration's submission to lawmakers today details the shortfalls that will occur in various agencies and government wide for the current fiscal year that include $4 million for the Guam Fire Department, $1.7 million for Mental Health operations, $2 million for the Department of Correction and Guam Police Department's overtime, $1.3 million for the Department of Education, another $1.3 million to cover utilities, one million to pay COLA interest, along with various shortages for the Governor's Office, Public Works, Public Health, BBMR, DISID, and Rev & Tax, just to name a few.
The Administration has identified various funding sources that it believes will cover the supplemental authorization request. It includes $1 million that was over deposited into the Tourist Attraction Fund, a $4.3 million reimbursement from the Solid Waste Operations Fund, a million dollars from the census, $7.6 million that remains from the hay appropriation, $4.6 million in federal reimbursements and another $2.1 million they contend will be collected from the autonomous agency collection fund from the Port Authority and the Guam Power Authority - not to mention $5 million that Adelup says was overpaid to the Government of Guam Retirement Fund that would offset health insurance premiums for retires and square away the Guam Memorial Hospital's $7.2 million debt to the Fund.
"We don't need to dwell on these errors anymore because we've identified what the problems are and we want to move forward with solutions and that's what the people expect," Torres said.
Whether lawmakers will buy the new numbers and the Administration's plan remains to be seen as some lawmakers like Senator Pangelinan remains skeptical of the true financial picture of the Government of Guam. "I doubt that the numbers are gonna be what their saying again when the final audit is done and when the reconciliation of the Make Work Pay Credit and the proper accounting and booking of those in the revenue and liability categories are going to even support anything that they're saying," stated Pangelinan.