$61M in tax refunds ready for release; Calvo, Cruz continue to trade barbs over budget
About 28,000 Guamanians will receive their tax refunds in the next few days with the receipt of $78 million of the Section 30 reimbursement, according to the governor’s office.
About $61 million will be used for status A tax refunds filed up to May 24. Checks will be processed in two batches on Thursday and Friday.
“$61 million. $61 million of your money in tax refunds is what our administration will be sending to you in the next few days. You have been asking for this money and it is what our administration has been trying to get to you,” Gov. Eddie Calvo said in his public address. “You will finally get the money that is owed to you and that you need -- to pay obligations, to take care of your family, medical needs, or do things you want.”
The governor’s office claimed Speaker Benjamin Cruz and Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo “intentionally misrepresented to elected leaders and the people of Guam during the discussion on the Governor’s tax refund bill that the federal government would remit to GovGuam only $68 million in Section 30.”
In fact, the governor’s office said. “the federal government ignored their request to withhold $10 million, which was made in an effort to torpedo the Governor’s efforts to get people their tax refunds quickly.”
Cruz, in response, said the fundamental goal of the fiscal 2018 budget proposal was to “underpromise and overdeliver.”
“That's why the FY18 budget always contains a provision (Chapter 1, Section 6) dedicating excess Section 30 monies to the payment of tax refunds,” Cruz said. “Spending newfound money is never a problem in the government of Guam, and the very next bill which passes after an override of the budget can be a measure that dedicates this new money to other priorities.”
Calvo, however, accused Cruz of turning the tax refund in to a political game.
“This would-be law should have already gotten you your tax refunds months ago,” the governor said. “Once again, Speaker BJ Cruz is using the people of Guam as pawns of his political chess game. He claims that he was under-promising Section 30 so he can over-deliver? The only thing he under-promised is his ability.”
The governor’s office said “their deception allowed the Speaker to chop the Fiscal 2018 budget at the expense of the health and safety of Guamanians all in the name of political convenience. This means the budget bill as passed by the Legislature is wrong by $10 million.”
Meanwhile, Calvo recently met with investors and tourism industry representatives in South Korea and Japan to help ensure Guam’s economy doesn’t falter. He is now in Washington D.C. as part of his continued effort to address disparities in federal programs as they relate to Guam, including EITC, Compact Impact, and skilled labor.
“Speaker Cruz’s political vitriol has fueled fears that Guam is following Puerto Rico’s path to bankruptcy. That’s not true. Simply for the fact that this administration, along with some allies in the Legislature, have been able to make smart financial decisions,” Calvo said.