By Nancy I. Maanao
Sen. Jim Moylan again is asking the governor to follow the law and pay out the locally-authorized stimulus of $800 per qualified taxpayer.
The senator, in a letter to Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero today, reminded her that the RISE Act - the law passed in December that created the local stimulus - mandates, not requests, the governor pay the local stimulus should federal funds be made available to Guam.
The request comes on the heels of the senator's introduction of legislation to increase the local stimulus amount from $800 to $1,000, the source of payment being the $661 million in American Recovery Plan federal funding President Biden signed into law Friday.
The governor's office has not provided Kandit a response to Mr. Moylan's call for the local stimulus payment as of the publication of this story.
The following is Mr. Moylan's news release:
It is unfortunate that Governor Lou Leon Guerrero is now backing down from paying out the proceeds from Public Law 35-136, The Rise Act. This local stimulus program was passed by the 35th Guam Legislature late last year and allowed to lapse into law by Governor Leon Guerrero on December 29, 2020.
The Governor stated in a recent media story that the proceeds from the Rise Act will instead be replaced by the Economic Impact Payments (EIP) because “the EIP is more.”. The Governor was referring to the $1,400 EIP, as a result of the recently enacted federal American Rescue Plan, which thousands of island residents will soon be receiving.
The Rise Act was authored by former Senator Regine Biscoe-Lee and was designed to assist thousands of island residents in the private sector with a one-time payout of $800 ($1,600 for joint filers). Bill 340-35 provided the Governor two options in funding the plan, with federal funds being one of them.
Governor Leon Guerrero has stated on several occasions that her priority with the federal funds would be to address government shortfalls. In other words, to assure that public sector payroll is met. While no one contends with this issue, the question now is, “What about the private sector, and those individuals who have gone months without an income. Are they not a priority as well?”.
The language in Public Law 35-136 clearly stipulates that “Payments under this Act SHALL be required only if the payments can be funded under a federal coronavirus relief package....”. A new relief package now exists, thus this is no longer about “if” the proceeds from the Rise Act should be paid, but about “when”.
Governor, please pay out the proceeds from the Rise Act, and let us end this division between the public and private sectors. Thank you.