Sens. Telo Taitague and Joanne Brown today proposed an amendment to the budget bill restricting the use of excess general fund revenues without a legislative appropriation.
The Republican senators proposed the amendment after noting that the governor's fiscal team provided scarce information regarding the funding sources used to cover the advance payments of war claims and to cover shortfalls in various special revenue funds, “Unfortunately, members of the governor’s fiscal team have refused to comment on how obligations are being met in the face of adverse economic impacts brought on by the global public health emergency," Taitague said.
"Going forward, the use of any and all excess general fund revenues – even for unanticipated tax refunds and prior years’ vendor payables – must be authorized by the legislature through an appropriation."
Taitague said the legislature’s appropriation authority must be respected and that the executive branch must expend funds accordingly.
" While the governor may have $600 million in ARP funds at her disposal, the legislature must utilize the few tools it has to ensure that EITC reimbursements, additional Section 30 funds, and excess General Fund revenues are prioritized particularly at a time when federal unemployment assistance is about to expire and our tourism industry remains closed," Taitague said.
"Moreover, senators must do everything we can now to reduce and avoid spending wherever possible so that critical public services may continue even during the next two fiscal years – a time the Office of Finance and Budget anticipates may be the worst financial period in GovGuam’s history," she added.