By Troy Torres
When Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero issues an executive order making changes to the wall Rise stimulus program, the budgeted cap of $30 million is not expected to increase. That means that applicants will be paid until the money runs out, making it highly possible that thousands of applicants will not receive a stimulus payment.
And even if senators pass a measure to increase the cap, Adelup contends it won’t matter and the Legislature has no say so in the matter.
Kandit clarified the matter in a conversation with governor’s director of communications Krystal Paco-San Agustin this evening:
KANDIT: Will there still be a $30M cap under the new EO? Or will there be enough money for all anticipateed applicants?
PACO-SAN AGUSTIN: $30M cap remains.
KANDIT: Does the Legislature need to amend the law in order to raise the cap?
PACO-SAN AGUSTIN: No.
KANDIT: So does this mean $30M is what the governor is allotting to the program? It will be granted out until funds are exhausted?
PACO-SAN AGUSTIN: Yes.
The original RISE Act, which senators passed in December, entitled qualified private senators taxpayers to receive a one-time stimulus payment of either $800 (single filers) or $1,600 (joint filers). The Legislature capped the budget for the program at $30 million, which would, in theory, provide for the stimulus payments of 37,500 people.
The governor then issued an executive order creating her own stimulus provided, which she called the All Rise program. She kept the payment scheme, but expanded eligibility to public sector workers and retirees.
She did not increase the $30 million cap. Ms. Shimizu has said her agency will pay out the stimulus until the funds run out, making the program a rat race for money.
Ms. Leon Guerrero control the purse strings on the program’s funding source - a direct aid grant from the national government in excess of $600 million currently sitting in the government’s treasury account at the Bank of Guam. She has committed $300 million of those funds as a down payment for the construction of a new hospital, and $15 million to help Guam Power Authority deal with its fuel costs losses through the pandemic.