Where Did All the Money Go - Again?
Almost a year ago, Senator Ben Pangelinan asked in his weekly column in the Marianas Variety Guam, “Where did all the money go?”
Pangelinan wrote in October 2011, “Fiscal Year 2011, which ended last Friday, shows that GovGuam is tracking to collect 95 percent of the General Tax Revenues projected, or over $621 million. On the other hand, only 47.5 percent (approximately $47.5 million) of budgeted income tax refund payments made it into the pockets of waiting recipients. In addition to not paying refunds, the Calvo administration has withheld approximately $16.7 million of allotments from GDOE, UOG, GCC, the Unified Courts and the Guam Legislature.”
The brusque lawmaker rails again this year at the floundering Calvo administration’s continued refusal to pay out tax returns with present and available funds for that very purpose. Pangelinan demanded in a letter to governor Calvo that he pay out the over $13 million the government of Guam received in Additional Child Tax Credit reimbursements from the U.S. Treasury funds received almost two weeks ago by the local government.
“The pattern of behavior by the Administration to mislead the people is wrong and simply politics at its worst. For whatever reason, the Governor continues to hold the income tax refund money as ransom for some political agenda. Perhaps he is trying to leverage not paying refunds to pressure the Legislature to implement his unwavering assault on employees’ and retirees’ livelihoods…..really the Governor is just kicking current financial obligations to employees and retirees down the road to a ,” the legislature’s intellectual powerhouse explained to a reporter from the PDN.
According to the math- and truth-challenged Director of the Department of Administration, Benita Manglona only approximately $400,000 in refunds are actually being doled out per week. Incredulously, Manglona informed local media that giving residents the millions supplied by the Federal government would force layoffs of government of Guam workers…the same line she and the Administration have used repeatedly, including last June and again in October 2011.
Public law requires no less than 90% of all Additional Child Tax Credit reimbursements received by GovGuam shall be deposited directly into a locked fund account referred to as the Income Tax Refund Efficient payment Trust Fund.
Senator Ben is right. The Calvo administration is breaking the law and the media and legal authorities are turning a blind eye. There is NO TRANSPARANCY (sic) in this administration until the media holds their feet to the fire. Keep it up senator or better yet demand that the OPA audit the deposit of this money. [from the guampdn.com comments]
In words that are becoming increasing familiar this election cycle, Pangelinan also explained that keeping “this Administration open and transparent” is really hard work.
Pangelinan used familiar language that has repeatedly come from Write-In candidate for Public Auditor Carl Gutierrez, promising the people of Guam that he will continue the diligence necessary to hold the Calvo/Tenorio administration “accountable and provide the checks and balance to protect the people and their interest over and above elected politicians’ personal and political interests.”
Only 47.5 percent of budgeted income tax refund payments made it into the pockets of waiting recipients, Senator Ben Pangelinan warned last October.
‘Accountability’ and ‘transparency’ are rapidly becoming the buzzwords for Guam Elections 2012. And this time, they might actually mean something to a public starved to know the truth about what is going on with the opaque Calvo/Tenorio administration.