332 has dramatic impacts on retirees
by Clynt Ridgell, KUAM News
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
During Monday's legislative session members of the 28th Guam Legislature
discussed, amended and ultimately passed Bill 332, Governor Felix Camacho's
bond-borrowing bill. The bill contains some intriguing items with dramatic
impacts on retirees of Guam's public sector. With a vote of 13 to 1, the
bill heads to the Governor's desk for his signature.
The legislation provides the chief executive to borrow up to $300 million
on the bond market. It also contains an amendment submitted by the Camacho
Administration that would allow the Governor to use the bond money and
specific special fund accounts to pay for cost of living allowances.
Senator Eddie Baza Calvo (R) says the final version of the bill was a
mixture of different ideas from all parties involved in the COLA case.
He told KUAM News, "The language in this particular bill incorporated
some bills that have been introduced by members of the Legislature both
in the majority and the minority. It also entailed some language by the
Governor in regards to access to specific cash accounts, as well as language
incorporated by the plaintiff's attorney, Mike Phillips, in regards to
a structured settlement."
The bill would allow Guam's governor to tap four Executive Branch accounts
to pay COLA. These four accounts are the GTA Privatization Fund, the Interim
Transition Office Account, the Territorial Highway Construction Fund,
and the Tourist Attraction Construction Fund. If tapped, these funds must
be reimbursed promptly as cash becomes available. The bill also included
Senator Frank Aguon Jr.'s (D) amendment that would make COLA awardees
eligible for tax rebates on their COLA settlements.
The bill would additionally authorize the governor to enter into a structured
settlement with COLA recipients at 7% interest per annum, allowing him
to pledge up to $10 million per year from Section 30 monies as collateral
for the settlement. This would allow retirees to get the total COLA owed
to them up front from lending institutions who would then collect the
COLA from the public sector at a later date.
Governor Camacho says he will sign the bill into law as soon as he receives
it, adding he is awaiting the court's final decision on the total amount
that the government will owe. "Then of course, it would be nice if
we could pay at least a thousand to each of the retirees that are due
this," Camacho told KUAM News. "If they're due that amount at
least up front that's the separate 'Lola Cola', as we call it," he
On top of this Lola Cola (is in reference to the thirteen-year-cola case)
the Governor says he hopes to pay the regular COLA due to retirees for
this fiscal year by sometime in November or December.
Review the amended Bill 332 on BobsOffice.org
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