Governor Calvo Vetoes Guam Fiscal 2018 Budget Bill

The bill was popular across party lines, lawmakers need only 10 votes to override Calvo’s veto

By Steve Limtiaco

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, September 11, 2017) – The Guam Visitors Bureau needs a larger budget to attract more tourists to the island, and the Department of Corrections needs more money to comply with court-ordered improvements at the prison, according to Gov. Eddie Calvo.

Calvo on Monday vetoed the fiscal 2018 budget bill, stating it fails to provide adequate funding for these and other important government programs and functions.

Calvo stated plans to add new officers to the Guam Police Department may have to be delayed a year because of funding restrictions in the budget bill.

The bill, as passed by lawmakers last month, by a vote of 12-3, projects $959.1 million in total government revenue next fiscal year, not including $125 million that will be set aside for the payment of tax refunds.

Although Calvo doesn’t like it, the budget bill passed by lawmakers was popular, across party lines.

Lawmakers need only 10 votes to override Calvo’s veto. The three senators who voted against the bill in August are Democratic Sens. Frank Aguon, Jr., and Mike San Nicolas and Republican Wil Castro.

The budget bill appropriates $23.83 million to the Visitors Bureau, which is $3.9 million less than it asked for.

Calvo, in his veto message, said the Visitors Bureau needs more funding now to maintain tourist arrival numbers. “Fully nurturing the blossoming market from South Korea must also be a prime focus,” he wrote.

With respect to funding for the prison, Calvo said the budget does not provide enough to provide medical and dental care and food to prisoners and detainees.

“Your omission of providing funds for the very basic needs of these individuals may place the government of Guam into federal receivership,” he wrote.

Vice Speaker Benjamin Cruz, D-Tumon, chairman of the budget committee, issued a statement Monday, responding to the governor’s veto.

“The governor wrote a seven-page letter to say what he could have said in 10 words: ‘I want to spend $40 million we don’t have.’ In the last two fiscal years alone, adopting Governor Calvo’s revenue projections would have left Guam in a $100 million hole. That isn’t politics. It’s arithmetic.”

 

Pacific Daily News
Copyright © 2017 Guam Pacific Daily News. All Rights Reserved

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