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I’m asking that very question again and again on the floor of the Guam Legislature.

Here are just a few of my observations from the last two weeks of this budget process:

* The budget document currently under review is out of balance by $21 million.

(The majority did present a replacement budget that reportedly balances the budget – but further examination of all of the expenses and revenues need to occur before anyone can actually say if the budget is balanced.)

* Education, public safety and health care are still not a priority in the budget.

(These agencies are still underfunded, taking cuts of 2.5% from last year’s appropriation. Does anyone honestly think this budget will provide our children an adequate education? )

* The government will continue to “stiff” retirees by not paying an appropriate amount into the retirement fund to save the fund from failure.

(The retirement fund is using principle to pay benefits. The Retirement Fund Board requested from the Legislature a contribution of 26%; the budget will contribute 20.81% -- the minimum level possible.) Remember, the unfunded liability of the retirement fund is more than one billion dollars.

So what are the priorities? Not education. Not public safety. Not public health. Not the retirement fund.

The majority needs to heed the Republican minority: make a list of all government agencies and fully fund the critical agencies and most urgent priorities first. Until this happens, I’m afraid the “band-aide” approach of budgeting will continue to occur.

I’ll continue to speak out for prioritizing essential government services first and only spending what this government can afford.

I’m interested in any thoughts you may have.




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