Our View: Wage Increases Not Yet Fiscally Responsible | Opinion

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The mechanics of government accounting, revenue projections and budget appropriations cannot be compared to balancing a checking account at the local credit union. There’s a lot more going on behind the bureaucratic veil of government financial operations – that’s what we understand.

So when 1,925 public school teachers were told that a 20% pay raise was on the way, we were puzzled as to how this batch of pay increases, in addition to recent officer pay increases law enforcement officers and nurses, would affect the government budget.

While we salute this financial magic trick for teachers – all of whom deserve more than the national standard salary – we must also say that workers in all sectors are facing financial hardship.

We are not out of the woods yet from the COVID-19 pandemic, and we believe that if the government cannot afford to review employee raises for other publicly funded positions based on merit, it is certainly not in a position to grant general salary increases. for a particular group.

Pay increases are rewards for job performance and should be considered fairly, based on the quality of one’s work, progress and productivity.

Beyond these measures, financial decisions such as salary increases must be implemented responsibly with sound and sustainable budget plans in place – not just when a financial windfall appears during a crisis.

According to a memo from the Department of Administration, teacher salary increases will cost the Guam government an additional $30.4 million per year. This nearly equates to Guam Memorial Hospital’s $35 million budget request for fiscal year 2023, in which the hospital’s chief financial officer admitted that despite improved revenue collection, funds are needed to track staff salary increases.

Coincidentally, the Guam Power Authority projected there will be $70 million in the hole for its fuel shipping expenses in January — the same expenses fueling the significant rise in power bills to come.

Hundreds of millions in federal relief funds have kept local government afloat throughout the pandemic. But have our leaders thought about what will happen when relief funds dry up and a million tourists fail to arrive in Guam this year?

Pay raises stay with us forever. To justify such a large amount of money as it would take to fund pay raises in government, the public needs to see the financial projections for the next five years, at least, to show that we can afford it.

To do otherwise would be an irresponsible approach to the management of taxpayers’ money.

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