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Torres to Fund Nurse Pay Increase in FY22 Budget

The following is news from the Office of Sen. Mary Torres:

In line with Governor Leon Guerrero’s prior authorization to increase public nurse salaries, Senator Mary Camacho Torres will be amending the substitute budget bill to secure a competitive compensation rate for our local nurse force in Fiscal Year 2022.

In a letter transmitted to budget chairman Senator Joe S. San Agustin this afternoon, Torres indicated her intent to ensure agencies are equipped to fund the increases our nurses rightfully deserve.

While Governor Leon Guerrero had approved a 15% increase in base salary with differential pay ranging from 10% to 25% in June,[1] the Department of Administration emphasized that the fiscal impact must be incorporated into the Fiscal Year 2022 and subsequent budgets.

“Upon review of the substitute version of Bill No. 55-36 and confirmation with your office, I have learned that the nurse pay increases have not, in fact, been contemplated in the current form of the budget bill,” said Senator Torres.

In its analysis, the DOA estimated annual costs at approximately $4.4 million across Public Health, the Guam Memorial Hospital Authority, Guam Behavioral Health, and the Department of Education.

Earlier this year,[2] Torres wrote Governor Leon Guerrero proposing the federal government’s full reimbursement of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) as a funding source for nurse pay increases. Consistent with her recommendation, she will utilize the EITC in her amendments to the FY22 Budget.

“Mr. Chairman, I know you can agree that paying our nurses what they deserve is not only an investment in the health and safety of our island—in the midst of this pandemic, it’s also the least we can do,” concluded Senator Torres in her correspondence. “Given our work together and your consistent advocacy for Guam’s front liners, I am hopeful of your support as I proffer these amendments in the upcoming session.”

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