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Governor tells lawmakers: Work more diligently on next fiscal year’s budget

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“I NOTE that the budget was not actually passed until after midnight on October 1, thus forcing the lt. governor, the attorney general, and my staff to review the budget bill overnight so that I could sign the budget, avoid a government shutdown, and permit government employees to report to work that morning,” Gov. Ralph DLG Torres said in his letter explaining the  line-items he voted when he signed the fiscal year 2021 bill into law.

“The Legislature had more than enough time to pass a budget even after the submission of the revised budget on July 1,” the governor added.

He said several sections that were vetoed in the budget bill were “problematic.”

“I strongly urge both houses of the Legislature to work diligently and collectively to avoid similar occurrences from repeating in the future,” the governor told Senate President Victor B. Hocog and Speaker Blas Jonathan Attao.

The governor said he was “compelled to address several sections of this legislation, which I have found to be problematic in either their implementation or in their lack of fairness to other activities of the different branches of government.”

Specifically, he said, the executive branch noted the Legislature's lack of transparency in providing clarifications for administrative provisions that move several sources of funding between programs, branches, and agencies. He added that the increase or decrease in the number of positions affecting the current employment of personnel within an agency “were concealed irresponsibly.”

“I am obliged to also mention that many of the provisions added by the Legislature are either unclear or inconsistent with other provisions of law or impose additional and unnecessary steps that would delay efficient processes already in place. I find that many of these provisions unfairly burden our different branches of government,” the governor said.

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