THE bicameral conference committee that will craft the final version of the fiscal year 2022 budget bill will meet on Friday, Sept. 17, at 1:30 p.m. in the House chamber.
Without a balanced budget by Oct. 1, there will be a partial government shutdown.
The House conferees are Ways and Means Committee Chairman Donald Manglona, Reps. Tina Sablan, Leila Staffler and John Paul Sablan, while the Senate conferees are Senate Fiscal Affairs Committee Chairman Victor B. Hocog, Senate Vice President Justo Quitugua, Sens. Frank Q. Cruz and Karl King-Nabors.
The conference committee was created after the House rejected the Senate version of House Bill 22-74, which proposes to appropriate $103.3 million of the government’s $144.8 million projected local revenue in FY 2022.
Gov. Ralph DLG Torres' FY 2022 budget submission includes his spending plan for $175 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds provided by the federal government.
In a joint memorandum on Monday, Manglona and Hocog stated that the conference committee meeting on Friday, Sept. 17, will start at 1:30 p.m. in the House chamber. The conferees' attendance "is urgently needed," the memorandum stated.
In an interview, Manglona said he anticipates that the conference committee will tackle only the “contentious” parts of the Senate version of the budget bill.
He hopes that the panel will come up with a version acceptable to both houses by next week.
The House rejected the Senate version of the FY 2022 budget bill due to the following concerns:
1) The governor's proposal to use $780,140 of ARPA monies for "salary adjustment" of cabinet members.
2) The removal of the $2.6 million subsidy for the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.
3) The provision that proposes to increase to $32,918 from $29,400 the salary of Delia Magofna, a judicial assistant to Associate Judge Joseph Camacho.