Special Session adjourned early -- millions in refunds to be paid Friday
Wednesday, September 18th 2013, 5:16 PM ChST
GUAM - In following through with the Governor's call for special session, lawmakers convened but within a matter of minutes immediately adjourned sine die.
Democrat Majority Leader Senator Rory Respicio responded, "We adjourned sine die today so the Democrats can demonstrate how we're cutting the politics so that the Governor can cut the checks for the 6,200 tax recipients."
It was just yesterday when Vice Speaker BJ Cruz shared the same sentiment saying the Governor did not need legislative authority to spend the Section 30 money as around this same time last year, had transferred 5-million in section 30 money to pay tax refunds.
"This little political game that Adelup and Senator Chris (Duenas) are playing is unnecessary. The reason why I say its unnecessary is the Governor knows it's unnecessary."
Respicio further adds to have this issue drawn out would clearly take away the Governor's ability to start processing the checks.
"So we didn't want to prolong this discussion where it was clear that the Governor had the authority to do so" the senator revealed.
And while lawmakers didn't discuss Bill 187 appropriating 9-million from Section 30 money along with the three other measures introduced by the Republicans, Governor Calvo instead in turn ordered DOA to release 20-million in tax refunds inclusive of all the 15-million Section 30 money and 5-million from the regular reserve collections.
I'm happy to say there are 20 million in tax refunds that will be released to the general public on Friday this week."
Governor Calvo further adds he'll gladly oblige to Vice Speaker BJ Cruz and the Democrat senator's statements that legislative authority isn't necessary to use the Section 30 money for tax refunds.
"Again, it doesn't make a difference what we do, we were heavily criticized not too long ago for releasing extra Section 30 money for tax refunds as a matter of fact, the appropriations chair, introduced a bill to appropriate money from these additional Section 30 money including tax refunds and we've been accused of being non-transparent. So we in the spirit of working with the Legislature, are doing what we thought they wanted but obviously the Vice Speaker has reversed the position" the governor added.
Governor Calvo meanwhile says he's still disappointed that lawmakers adjourned session without talking about the three other bills that would have addressed paying overtime for public safety officers, purchasing police vehicles and providing maintenance for the island's schools- all of which would have needed legislative authority to use Section 30 money.
Senator Chris Duenas meanwhile thanks the governor for releasing the refunds but says he's still disappointed with the Democrats call to adjourn and not even discuss the other bills. So what happens now to bill 187?
"Once the checks are cut and I've have been given the word from DOA that money has been distributed of course the bill for the 9 million will be moot and I will be withdrawing that"
Following the announcement, Senator Respicio issued a comment saying "this is a victory for tax payers and I am glad that the governor has finally moved to end the politics and the talk and release those tax refunds." he further adds "the governor's actions now speak to how unnecessary it was to alarm our people and burden tax payers with the uncertainty as to whether or not they would get their tax refunds."
The 20-million dollars meanwhile accounts for over 9-thousand tax payers and according to the governor's office will be printed by Rev and Tax today with DOA auditing the checks and stuffing them into envelopes Thursday and sent to post office no later than Friday.