Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Lieutenant Governor Tenorio comes out against paying tax refunds

Tuesday's Pacific Daily News had a letter from Lieutenant Governor Ray Tenorio where he came out against Governor Eddie Calvo's decision to use the $15 million Section 30 windfall for tax refunds.

However, rather than acknowledge that if the Lieutenant Governor has a bone to pick with anyone, he should turn to his boss, Tenorio emerged with partisan vitriol:
Sen. Aline Yamashita sponsored a bill that would have funded a plan to maintain all public schools and build new ones. The governor felt it was such a critical bill, he called the Legislature into special session to vote on it.
Instead of acting on the important bill, the legislative majority felt session was unnecessary, so they adjourned before even talking about it. That bill would have started the process of funding Sanchez High and all the other school facilities.[1]
In other words, he is accusing the Democrats in the legislature for killing Aline Yamashita's bill. The bill Lieutenant Governor Tenorio is discussing is Bill No. 184-32 (COR), which was introduced by Senator Aline Yamashita, and would have appropriated $3 million to implement Public-Private Partnerships to maintain, operate and repair facilities of the Guam Department of Education.[2]

Lieutenant Governor Tenorio is right that the majority of senators in the Guam Legislature removed the bill from the session agenda, but his implication that the bill was killed by the Democratic majority is dead wrong. At that point, the bill could have received a public hearing and gone through the standard legislative process.

Governor Calvo destroyed any chance that the bill would become law, when he used the funding source identified in the bill to pay tax refunds. It is hard to argue against paying people the tax refunds that are owed to them by the government of Guam, but that is what Lieutenant Governor Tenorio is arguing, implicitly.

Probably most people would agree with Lieutenant Governor Tenorio that our public schools should be well-maintained. On the other hand, tax refunds represent borrowed money that has to be paid back soon. Currently, the government of Guam is required to pay tax refunds within 6 months. The Governor is meeting the minimum requirements of his job, by paying tax refunds within the legally required time-frame.

Perhaps the Lieutenant Governor would rather divert money for tax refunds to operational expenses of the government, but I do not think that is a good idea. If Lieutenant Governor Tenorio has a problem with paying tax refunds instead of using the $3 million for maintaining public schools, he should take it up with his boss.

1 comment:

  1. I appreciate the insight for this issue. Your explanation is very clear.