Sen. James C. Moylan has proposed to prohibit elected officials who either lose an election or elect not to seek re-election from attaining a job with the government of Guam for a minimum of 12 months from their last day in office.
The discussion on this amendment shall take place later in the week when senators address the miscellaneous provisions of Bill 282-35, the FY 21 budget bill. The only exceptions to the prohibition shall be if the individual attained a position as an educator, licensed health professional, law enforcement officer, or won a seat in another elected position.
“One of the primary responsibilities of the legislature is to discuss and pass a budget bill. For any member to influence the process with the possibility that they shall be the benefactors of that very budget is a practice which needs to end," Moylan said.
“While I have no issues with elected officials returning to public service in the capacity of an educator, a healthcare professional, or even a law enforcement officer, I believe that having a high paying government job as an agency head waiting for you after your term ends is a procedure that has to stop. Not to mention an insult to others who may qualify for that very position but do not bring the political credentials to the table.”, added Senator Moylan.
Moylan has reiterated that the intent of the amendment is to allow the provision to remain in the books permanently and is not being introduced to target any specific elected official in office at this time.
“We are living in a period of uncertainties; thus, we need to pass a responsible budget bill. Adding language that prohibits political favors for political patronage is the responsible thing to do,” Moylan said.
On the Democratic side, Sen. Therese Terlaje attempted to lock up any excess revenues collected under withholding and corporate taxes for the Department of Public Health and Social Services in FY 2021.
The proposed amendment would have appropriated all fiscal year 2021 withholding and corporate income tax revenues collected per quarter in excess of the revenue level adopted (or 'revenue budgeted') for that quarter as reflected on the monthly CRER to the Department of Public Health and Social Services for expansion of its environmental health inspections, its other regulatory purposes and other DPHSS operations, but not to exceed $6 million for the entire fiscal year.
“We are being tasked to make hard decisions and difficult cuts. The Office of Finance of Budget has cut DPHSS by $3.5 million overall and $13 million in operations, and the Department is still short $9.8 million to fund our full match in Medicaid and $2 million in CHIP. This amendment simply ensures that if there is excess revenue, that it is appropriated to the agency that is going to continue to get us through this health emergency for their operations over any other priority of the Government of Guam,” Terlaje said.
Terlaje said the money may soon be gone before it gets earmarked for public health.
"Last year we appropriated $10 million in excess revenues from FY 2019 for capital improvements at GMH and have yet to see these funds transferred by the administration, even though it was signed into the FY 2020 budget law and there was more than $30 million in excess revenues available,” she said.
During the discussion, Terlaje noted that the current substitute bill for FY 2021 appropriates $13 million less for DPHSS operations than what was earmarked in FY 2020 for the basic operations of public health that could not be funded by new CARES grant funding.
The Terlaje amendment failed with seven yes votes and eight no votes.