By Johnnie Rosario
Sen. Jim Moylan, fresh from reviewing a request from the governor for ideas on how to spend some $664 million in federal funds, said he's been giving her ideas since January.
"We have provided the Governor several recommendations on how to use the federal funds in terms of stimulating the local economy," Mr. Moylan told Kandit in response to the letter penned by Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero today to Democrat Speaker Therese Terlaje and Republican leader Sen. Chris Duenas. "As you may recall, we introduced six measures the morning President Biden signed the federal relief package into law."
Guam will be receiving $664 million in direct aid for the government of Guam from the federal government. The amount was negotiated by Congressman Michael San Nicolas for the island as the Biden stimulus package, the American Rescue Plan, made its way through the U.S. House of Representatives. The governor will be able to spend that money - limited by federal guidelines - without legislative appropriation. In her letter to Terlaje and Duenas today, she asked for a meeting to discuss how to spend that money.
To put this into perspective, the $664 million the federal government will give to Guam exceeds the amount of General Fund revenue appropriated this fiscal year for the operations of the entire government. According to the budget act, Public Law 35-99, the Fiscal Year 2021 budgeted General Fund revenues available for appropriation is slightly north of $649 million.
Mr. Moylan has been writing to the governor since January, proposing uses for the money. He also wrote six bills for the use of that money.
"These measures included increasing the payout from the Rise Act, a debit card program, a grant program to start new small businesses, and a grant program to create new private sector jobs. We also proposed programs to help families with their utility and rental payments.
"We have asked the Governor to consider these proposals, as an Executive Order could very well supersede legislation and move the process along.
"So to address the governors letter, I will be responding with merely asking the Governor to review Bills 75-36 to 80-36 for considerations as to how to spend some of the federal relief funds." - Sen. Jim Moylan