Tenorio calls on senators to work together
Guam - It's that time again for what the Administration has called "the yearly spectacle of politics at its worst", when lawmakers come together to discuss the annual budget requests of GovGuam. The acting governor is calling on more listening and less screaming this time around.
In delivering the Governor's Weekly Address, Ray Tenorio calls on lawmakers to work together on the budget, writing, "I hope the legislative leadership and the Democratic majority allow for members of this administration to present the budget with an open mind." Next week the Guam Legislature will hold its first set of hearings on the proposed Fiscal Year 2013 budget. The Calvo Administration is requesting $772.5 million in appropriations.
The acting governor says every year, the budget hearings become a "spectacle of politics at its worst". Tenorio is pleading with senators to listen to what the administration has to say instead of yelling at them like they did last year. "So we're looking for good faith and we're looking for people to operate as though they are leaders in this community who want to see the same thing without having to yell at each other to do it," he said.
He says last year, a lot of focus was put on the budget because not only was it the Calvo Administration's first year in office but addressed paying off all past due tax refunds in one shot. He adds they submitted a realistic budget for a bi-annual revenue and expenditure plan in order to correct what he calls "three years of the bad budget from the legislative democratic leadership of finance."
He hopes with the Administration's track record over the past year from paying off tax refunds to receiving the highest credit rating in Guam's history, that senators will tune out all the rhetoric and yelling. He said, "But if the estimates are so far off as the last three budgets were prior to us taking this office, and you continue to do the same thing what you've always done, you're not going to get a different result. So I'm hoping that the people of Guam and the legislature ultimately change who we have doing the numbers so we have better figures that we can rely upon."
Committee on Finance chairman Senator Ben Pangelinan has been off-island since last month for personal reasons, however Vice Chair Speaker Judi Won Pat says she is prepared to oversee the hearings. In a statement, she says each budget cycle is a challenge and while the two branches may not agree on issues all the time, lawmakers only have the best interest of its constituents, adding:
"I'm sure that this body will work hard to negotiate a budget with the executive branch and I would much rather negotiate a budget that we can agree on and get bipartisan support, for the budget is at the heart of how the people's money is going to be spent; and this is important, because this is the hard earned dollars that our people put into this government that keeps this government afloat."
She is most concerned with the governor's $43 million directive in cuts and how that would not only affect the budget but government employees who may be possibly laid off.
The budget hearings start on Monday, June 25 with the Mayors Council of Guam, the Office of Public Accountability and the Guam Election Commission.