By Johnnie Rosario
(Tumon, Guam) Despite promising correctional and police officers that she would prioritize their agencies, Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero took half-a-million dollars from them to pay Calvo's Insurance.
She insensitively and ironically also took one-third of the Fiscal Year 2019 funding from medical patients with no financial means of affording medical insurance but Medicaid, and gave it to Calvo's Insurance.
The health insurance program for poor children, senior citizens, and people on welfare? She cut some funding to those programs, too.
The Yigo animal shelter, which constantly is underfunded, took a 15 percent cut, thanks to the governor, who doesn't care that healthy animals are euthanized there almost every day because of the lack of space and funding.
The most draconian funding cut so that the governor could fund insurance companies? A 75 percent cut in funding for support for children in custody.
These are just a few of the transfers she made from critical government operations to pay the Government of Guam Retirement Fund for its obligation to pay the medical, dental, and life insurance debt it owes to the island's insurance companies. Calvo's Insurance was owed to bulk of the debt.
Ms. Leon Guerrero's report, filed with Speaker Tina Muna Barnes on December 10, 2019, documents $6,208,484 in transfers from priority operations she promised to support into the insurance debt, the poorly-managed cancer trust fund, and the operations of the veterans, fire, and revenue and taxation agencies. By far, the insurance companies represented the lion's share of beneficiaries: $5,212,075.
It was a nearly-20 percent increase in the appropriated level for the insurance expense taxpayers shoulder for the cost of providing health insurance to government of Guam employees, retirees, and their families. The appropriated level went from $32 million to $37.3 million in one fell swoop.
The document indicates that the governor had made these millions in transfers within the five working days preceding December 10; however it is unclear whether the transfers were made prior to that period in violation of the law. It would not be the first time Ms. Leon Guerrero broke the law while in office.
The transfers were made from Fiscal Year 2019 lapses, or revenue that was appropriated but not expended within Fiscal Year 2019. The transfers change the complexion of the FY2019 financials on a fiscal year that ended September 30, 2019 and currently is under financial audit.