Understanding The Budget
Phase I – Preparation
What is the Government of Guam’s Budget?
The Government of Guam’s (GovGuam’s) budget is a document that is adopted by I Liheslaturan Guåhan (the Guam Legislature) and enacted by I Maga’låhen Guåhan (the Governor of Guam) on an annual basis which provides the policy decisions made relative to funding the priorities as identified and determined during each fiscal year’s budget cycle. Once signed by the Governor of Guam, it is a Public Law prescribing the values and priorities of the government for each fiscal year.
The GovGuam’s budget estimates of how much revenues the GovGuam is expected to receive during each fiscal year and identifies what departments and/or agencies, associated programs, activities, or other directives/initiatives are funded and at what level.
The GovGuam’s budget covers one fiscal year which begins on October 1st and ends on September 30th of the following year pursuant to § 4102.1, 5 G.C.A.
Phase II – Review and Adoption
The GovGuam’s annual budget cycle generally consists of three phases.
The Governor of Guam, through the Bureau of Budget and Management Research (BBMR), prepares the annual Proposed Comprehensive Program and Financial Plan. The Plan is transmitted in a message to the Guam Legislature which is accompanied by a budget document that contains the recommended goals and spending plan(appropriations) for each fiscal year which includes a draft revenue/appropriations bill.
Pursuant to Chapter 4, Title 5 GCA, the Proposed Comprehensive Program and Financial Plan, also known as the Executive Budget Request, is submitted to the Guam Legislature for its consideration not later than January 31 prior to each fiscal year, with the exception that governors of Guam in the first year of the first term or an additional non-consecutive term it is due not later than April 8 of that same year. In accordance with § 4108, Chapter 4, Title 5 GCA, the Guam Legislature considers and reviews the Executive Budget Request.
After delivery of the Executive Budget Request, which includes a draft General Appropriations Bill to the Guam Legislature, a bill is introduced by the Committee on Rules in accordance with the Standing Rules of the Guam Legislature and is designated as a bill introduced at the request of the Governor of Guam in accordance with the Organic Act of Guam. This introduced General Appropriations Bill is then referred to the Committee on Appropriations wherein budget hearings for specified departments, agencies, and branches are held to provide an overview of their budget requests. Special Accounting Service and Special Economic Service meetings may also be held which involve government budget, accounting, economic, and finance professionals pursuant to §§ 13107 and 13108, Chapter 13, Title 2 GCA.
Pursuant to § 2109, Chapter 2, Title 2 GCA, the Guam Legislature is required to pass a General Appropriations Bill and submit such bill to the Governor of Guam no later than August 31, prior to each fiscal year. Upon passage by the Guam Legislature, the General Appropriations Bill is subject to approval and/or veto by the Governor of Guam and, if applicable, subsequent override by the Guam Legislature.
Once enacted, the General Appropriations Act authorizes the release of funds appropriated to the departments, agencies, and branches of the GovGuam at the beginning of the following fiscal year on October 1. Annual appropriations, unless otherwise specified, are valid for a one-year period and any unexpended or unencumbered appropriations lapse at the end of the fiscal year. Pursuant to § 4109, Chapter 4, Title 5 GCA, each department and agency (not including the Guam Legislature and the Unified Judiciary of Guam) is required to prepare and transmit an annual plan for the operation of each of its assigned programs and to the BBMR which is subject to the BBMR’s review and approval and/or modification.
Departments and agencies such as the BBMR, the Department of Administration (DOA), and the Department of Revenue and Taxation (DRT) are required to provide reports to the Guam Legislature on either a monthly or quarterly basis, certain financial reporting requirements relative to revenues and expenditures of the GovGuam and may also be required to produce other types of reports as provided for in the General Appropriations Act.
Phase III – Execution and Administration