Guam News - Guam News
Guam - Vice Speaker B.J. Cruz concluded the first of a series of hearings Monday night on the Governor's Omnibus Fiscal Reform Act by calling on the Governor to withdraw the measure and re-write it.
"I need to have something that we can work with that is not a moving target, and knowing amounts that are going to be saved." said Cruz.
Billed as a "round-table discussion", it was the first of a series of hearings on Bill #507 that are planned in the coming weeks before the Vice-Speaker's Governmental Affairs Committee. The Governor's proposal seeks up to $71 million dollars in spending cuts in the coming fiscal year.
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The "round-table" lasted three-and-a-half hours during which Democratic Senators peppered DOA Director Benita Manglona, and various GovGuam Human Resource managers with questions about the meaning and intent of language in the bill, and the projected savings that each Section would provide.
The focus for most of the night was on savings to be realized by changes to leave policies, including changes to paternity and maternity leave, revisions to leave sharing and cashing out of accumulated leave. But some Senators expressed frustration that DOA Director Manglona could not say exactly how much each of the proposed Sections would save GovGuam.
Ahead of the hearing, Senator Cruz told PNC News that his intention for the first hearing was "purely informational" and that the focus would be on explaining what changes the bill proposes for GovGuam employees and to learn from various GovGuam Human Resource managers how they would implement those changes.
In the weeks ahead, specific hearings will be held for each of the GovGuam constituencies that will be effected. Tuesday evening the Committee will hear from Guam Firemen.
He could not say whether the review process would be completed before the November 6th election, but Cruz said that he hopes at the end of the process the Governor will agree to withdraw the bill and turn away from cutting spending and decide instead to collect revenues owed to GovGuam.
He emphasized that does NOT mean increasing taxes which he opposes.
Instead Cruz pointed to statements made by Rev and Tax Director John Camacho who earlier this year said that if he received $500-thousand dollars in his budget to hire necessary personnel, he could increase revenues by $30-million simply by having the staff to finally collect what is owed to GovGuam.
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