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  • Pacific Island Times News Staff

Funding Availability Note seeks to close loopholes in spending bills

Speaker Benjamin Cruz addresses members of the 34th Guam Legislature during the inauguration ceremony Monday, Jan. 2. Photo by Bruce Lloyd

The 34th Guam Legislature on Monday adopted the new Standing Rules., which contain a provision that seeks to plug the loopholes in spending bills proposed by senators.

“If this Legislature wants to change our government’s financial circumstances, we have to change the Rules we live by,” said Speaker Benjamin Cruz, who authored the new language of the Standing Rules.

Under the new rules, all appropriation and authorization measures, from any and all funding sources, must be referred to the Committee on Appropriations and Adjudication (Committee) for review and analysis. With the assistance of the Office of Finance and Budget, the Committee will determine the availability of each measure’s proposed funding by issuing a “Funding Availability Note.”

Cruz highlights the necessity of the new language, noting that, in past Standing Rules, there were exceptions that allowed for the referral of spending bills to Standing Committees other than the Committee on Appropriations. The mandate to issue a “Funding Availability Note” therefore ensures that no spending bill slips through the cracks.

While the Bureau of Budget and Management Research is legally mandated to prepare a Fiscal Note for all bills affecting the revenues or expenditure of government funds , Cruz’s “Funding Availability Note” would provide an additional layer of review to the statutory requirement—serving as a spending control mechanism while granting the Committee true oversight over budgetary matters.

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