Governor's special address, October 9
My fellow Guamanians,
It's important that I talk with you today in this special address. Certain senators seemed unwilling to accept my spending cuts proposals. My proposals will cut $70 million in spending essentially by reducing payroll costs and the size of the GovGuam workforce. We will do this without mass furloughs. We considered it a win-win. We hope to cut more through the 15 percent reserve.
The legislative majority sent my proposal to the Retirement Fund for alternatives, since they didn't like my plans. The new proposals are in, and one of them is to cut the pay of every GovGuam employee by 20 percent.
This new proposal, commissioned by the legislature, is called ‘Furlough Friday,' as though it's some trendy and hip thing to do. It's just a fancy way of saying '32-hour workweek,' or '20 percent cut in pay.' I am opposed to it. Not only will this hurt every single employee, but it will not have the effect of reducing the GovGuam workforce.
Political leaders have to come to grips with the fact that true savings means cutting the size of government. It is unfair to all taxpayers to simply cut spending by cutting service levels to them. My proposal allows employees to voluntarily separate from government service. My proposal cuts the GovGuam workforce without hurting people. It will actually help those looking to retire.
The Retirement Fund so cavalierly proposes this cut to all employees after spending the past five years losing hundreds of millions through bad investments. This is why you are paying so much of your tax money to the pension fund… it's because of the Retirement Fund's bad investments. Now, on top of taking your tax dollars to afford their mistakes, they want to cut GovGuam employees' pay by 20 percent.
I say no. I will veto any measure coming from the legislature that implements an across-the-board furlough. That cookie-cutter approach fails to prioritize critical services. It will jeopardize education, safety, and medical functions to the entire community. And in doing so, the worst part is that the size of the government will remain the same.
I assure all GovGuam employees and their families who are listening that I am opposed to this proposal. I know that you have bills to pay and children to feed. You are struggling to make the rent and the car payment. Your power bill is already too high. Most of you already are working more than the 40 hours a week in the office.
I'm just one voice, though. To keep this awful proposal from even making it through the legislature, please call senators and let them know how this will hurt you. You can call Speaker Won Pat at 472-3586 or email her at email@example.com. Let the senators know that there are other ways of cutting spending, like the proposals I offered to them. Let them know that they shouldn't balance their mistakes on your backs. Before ending I do want to thank the Vice Speaker. He has been working with our team and does seem willing to compromise.
Thank you for listening, and have a great day.