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Where is Guam's local stimulus? The CNMI is paying out theirs. Adelup plans update today.

By Jacob Nakamura

The CNMI Department of Finance is preparing to issue $500 checks to every qualified Commonwealth taxpayer next month using American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money. There still is no word from Adelup about when Guam qualified taxpayers will receive their $800 per person local stimulus.

The stimulus payment was mandated by the last Guam Legislature in December last year. Part of the authorization allowed for Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero to use local or federal direct aid funds to the government of Guam to pay every qualified Guam taxpayer $800, and every qualified joint filer $1,600.

The legislature limited the payments to private sector workers. Once Guam was approved for ARPA funds, however, Ms. Leon Guerrero issued an executive order expanding eligibility to public sector workers and retirees as well. Shortly after the governor's announcement, director of revenue and taxation Dafne Shimizu publicly stated taxpayers and retirees would have to apply for the stimulus payments on her agency's website.

No further information has been provided since.

Governor's director of communications Krystal Paco-San Agustin said she and Ms. Shimizu are preparing an update to the public for today.

The payment of the local stimulus by next month - if that will be today's announcement - would not come at a better time. This past week Ms. Leon Guerrero signed an executive order that, among other things, lifts the moratorium on eviction and foreclosure proceedings effective July 1. That prohibition on essentially kicking out renters and homeowners with mortgages for non payment has been in place since March 2020.

Residents also are struggling with the rising cost of fuel, both at the pump and with power rates. This is not to mention the June 2 restart of public utilities disconnections for non payment of bills.

According to the Saipan Tribune, CNMI secretary of finance David Atalig, Jr. has said about 41,000 Commonwealth taxpayers will each receive checks of $500, amounting to about $22 million in total next month.

“The goal is to have that program by the end of July, giving each taxpayer at least $500 that they can spend to help their families as they go through the pandemic,” he is quoted in the Tribune as saying.

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