FOR IMMEDIATE NEWS RELEASE (June 18, 2014 – Hagåtña, GU) – Senator Vicente “ben” C. Pangelinan (D), Chairman of the Committee on Appropriations, Public Debt, Retirement, Legal Affairs, Public Parks, Recreation, Historic Preservation, and Land (Committee) reacts to the Supreme Court Declaratory Judgment opinion filed by the Guam Legislature relative to the Income Tax Refund Efficient Payment Trust Fund.

“This is a landmark declaratory judgment opinion, the first in over a decade and will once and for all prevent this governor and all future governors from taking from the people’s tax refund trust fund that I had envisioned and created to protect the people from financial misuse,” declared Pangelinan.

The Supreme Court has affirmed the Legislature’s appropriations power and authority to mandate that income tax receipts be set aside to pay tax refunds and restricted from the governor’s transfer or expenditure.

For years, Pangelinan passed laws, passed budgets, and amended those laws and budgets to try to force governors to set aside income tax receipts every month in order to pay tax refunds.

“Governors ignored the law or found loopholes, believing their expenditures were more of a priority than prompt payment of tax refunds. With this decision, there will be prompt and monthly payments of tax refunds, and the people of Guam deserve no less,” explained Pangelinan.

“The governor needs to explain himself for using the people’s tax refund money in the amount of almost $50 million for government operations over the past three-and-a-half years, which represents almost 19,000 taxpayers who are still waiting—even up to today—for their tax refund payments. These types of actions may lead to deficit spending in FY 2013,” warned Pangelinan.

Pangelinan suggests that all taxpayers take time to review this opinion from the third and co-equal branch of government, for it is an opinion that stands by the people and for the people. “The truth about tax refunds has become increasingly clear with this opinion from the Supreme Court of Guam as well as the permanent injunction against the governor in the federal District Court of Guam.”

“When the legislature asserts its role as a co-equal branch with the power of appropriations and takes seriously its duty to check and balance the spending power of the executive branch, the people of Guam win,” concluded Pangelinan.

For further information, please contact the Offices of Senator Pangelinan at 473-4236 or email atoffice@senbenp.com.

 

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