Guam Budget Proposal Reflects Economic Growth Forecasts

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Revenue estimates up $54 from current fiscal year

By Jerick Sablan

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Feb. 3, 2015) – The administration believes Guam's economy will grow next fiscal year, and the extra revenue is reflected in its budget proposal to the Legislature.

"Truly, we are at the cusp of sustained economic growth. We have already seen positive trends with regards to our economy, and according to economic analysis, Guam's economy is expected to continue on this expansionary trend in FY 2016 and beyond," Gov. Eddie Calvo recently wrote to the Legislature.

The governor's budget proposal for fiscal 2016 states that projected gross revenues for the General Fund are $851.7 million, which is approximately $67.1 million more than the fiscal 2015 budget, and includes $125 million for tax refunds.

The total net revenue for the General Fund is $702 million, the proposal states. That's $54 million more than the revenue estimate for the current fiscal year.

Special fund revenues are projected at $196 million, or $13.1 million more than in fiscal 2015.

Calvo says an example of the increase in special fund revenue is the Hotel Occupancy Tax, which is expected to grow with the rise in tourist numbers.

Comparing the overall projected net revenue for fiscal 2016 of $941.6 million with fiscal 2015 of $874.2 million there is a 7.7 percent increase, which reflects the anticipated economic growth in tourism, construction and military activities in 2016, Calvo wrote in his letter to the Legislature.

$305M to be shared

The budget as submitted leaves $305 million to be distributed between the Guam Department of Education, Guam Commission on Educator Certification, University of Guam, Guam Community College, the Legislature, Unified Judiciary, Public Defender's Corporation, Mayors' Council of Guam, Office of Public Accountability, Office of the Attorney General and the Guam Visitors Bureau.

It would be up to lawmakers to decide how to divide that money, but the Department of Education already has submitted a $328 million budget request, saying that amount is required to provide an adequate public education.

Public safety, GMH

Calvo, during a press conference yesterday, said public safety is a priority in the budget, with funding to hire new police officers for the Guam Police Department and officers for Guam Customs and Quarantine.

The Guam Memorial Hospital also will be getting more funding through the Pharmaceutical Fund, Calvo said.

"We're more than doubling appropriations to support the hospital," he said.

The budget proposal appropriates $18 million from the fund to the hospital.

Calvo said the economy will continue to strengthen in various sectors, including tourism, construction and military spending.

"There has been a strengthening of our economy," he said.

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