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Agents on Guam to study situation

By Oyaol Ngirairikl HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Feb. 8, 2011) - The investigative arm of Congress is on island this week to study whether Guam is being adequately reimbursed for providing education, health and other services to people from the freely associated states of Micronesia

A government of Guam report on compact impact has stated Guam is owed about US$324.5 million for the last seven years.

Guam Delegate Madeleine Bordallo and Gov. Eddie Calvo announced in a joint press release issued yesterday that members of the U.S. Government Accountability Office will be on Guam this week.

"The focus of the GAO visit to Guam will be on determining: one, the number and demographic characteristics of the compact migrants; two, the impact of the compact migrant population; and three, the use of grant monies provided to aid in defraying costs as a result of increased educational and social services demands due to compact migrants residing on Guam

"I’d like to know how much of a contribution the FSM and FAS citizens have made to the island community," Mori said. He also said he’d like to see if the contributions offset the financial impact on these jurisdictions.

"I think it’s only fair to know because the media has (said) we are parasites on these various governments, but they never talk about our contributions to the economy," Mori said.

Calvin Saruwatari, a planner with the Guam State Data Center Planning Information Program at the Bureau of Statistics and Plans, said GovGuam’s annual reports look at the number of FAS citizens and their descendants as a group. They don’t include information on FAS citizens or their descendents living and working on Guam as tax-paying residents.

In the 2010 Compact Impact Report, GovGuam asked to be reimbursed a total of US$324.5 million, which it cited as the cost incurred in providing educational and social services to citizens of the freely associated states from fiscal 2004 to fiscal 2010. The report numbers aren’t audited.

The report also doesn’t state the amount Guam has received in federal compact-impact funding.

From fiscal 1996 to fiscal 1999, Guam received US$4.58 million annually. Guam received US$7.58 million in fiscal 2000 and US$9.58 million in fiscal 2001. In fiscal 2002, the island received nearly US$7 million, files state.

The island’s annual base reimbursement was increased to US$14.2 million beginning in fiscal 2004. The amount was expected to increase to about US$16 million this fiscal year, according to the Interior Department.

Compact-impact grant assistance may be used only for health, educational, social or public safety services, or infrastructure related to such services.

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