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GovGuam debt burden: $13,709 for every person

HAGÅTÑA (The Guam Daily Post) — The government of Guam’s debt burden, which breaks down to almost $14,000 for every man, woman and child who lives on the island, may now be one of the highest in the nation.

The Guam Office of Public Accountability, in its “citizen-centric” report, stated Guam’s debt per person was $13,709 as of fiscal year 2015.

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Guam’s debt burden, per person.  Graph courtesy of Crawford & AssociatesGuam’s debt burden, per person. Graph courtesy of Crawford & Associates

The Guam Economic Development Authority’s snapshot of the local government’s financial picture — as summarized for bond investors — stated that Guam’s debt per person was “estimated at $6,504 per person in fiscal year 2013 (which) ranks among the lowest combined (for) state and local government debt burdens.”

But with a debt-per-person figure at $13,709, Guam is now ranked as having one of the highest debt burdens in the nation.

According to, the top three most populous states — California, Texas and New York — had debt burdens per person of $6,909, $8,350 and $10,646, respectively.

“For the year ending Sept. 30, 2015, GovGuam had $2.3 billion of long-term debt or $13,709 per capita which is considered a high debt burden on its citizens when compared to other insular governments,” according to Crawford & Associates, which prepared a financial-analysis report with funding from the Department of the Interior.

The significant increase in the ratio is due primarily to the addition of the long-term net pension liability of $846 million added in fiscal 2015, according to Crawford & Associates.

It stated that in fiscal 2015, 144 percent of GovGuam’s $1.82 billion in total assets were offset by debt or other obligations.

“This is an unfavorable financial indicator and means that for each dollar of assets GovGuam owns, it owes $144 cents of that dollar to others,” the Crawford analysis states. “The significant jump in the ratio was due primarily to the reporting of approximately $846 million of net pension liabilities for the first time in 2015.”