Recognizing the need for a true Economic Recovery Plan, and for the creation of local programs to assist thousands of island residents, Senators James Moylan, Tony Ada, and Chris Duenas are introducing six bills as part of their “Let’s Get Guam Moving” Initiative.
With President Joe Biden’s enactment of the American Rescue Plan, an array of federal funds and programs will make its way to the island in the coming days and weeks, inclusive of over $660 million for the government of Guam to address the management of the crisis as well budget shortfalls.
Senators Moylan, Ada, and Duenas have proposed using some of these monies to address programs that will go directly into the hands of the community. They include the following:
- Increasing the payout from Public Law 35-136, The RISE Act, which was enacted in December of 2020, however, has yet to be enforced. The measure would increase the financial support for eligible residents from $800 to $1,000 for individuals, and $1,600 to $2,000 for joint filers.
The Displaced Employee Workforce Incentive Act of 2021 (DEWI) would appropriate funds into a grant program to create hundreds of full-time private sector jobs.
The Business Startup Incubation Act of 2021 (BSI) would create a grant program to create new small businesses and encourage financial independence.
The Para I Publiku Act of 2021 (PIP) would establish a debit card program, provided to eligible island residents to spend at local business establishments, and to inject $30,000,000 into Guam’s economy.
The Guam Home Energy Assistance Act of 2021 (HEAP) would create a local grant assistance program to provide support for eligible residents with utility payments and energy costs.
The Atkilón Guma’ Assistance Act of 2021 (AGA) would create a local grant assistance program to provide support for eligible residents with home rentals.
The objectives of the “Let’s Get Guam Moving” Initiative is to stimulate millions of dollars into Guam’s economy through the creation of new jobs, businesses, and taxes, while assuring families are not pressured with utility disconnections and home evictions.
While Governor Lou Leon Guerrero has insisted that she is the only party authorized to expend federal funds, precedence was set in 2020 with the enactment of two pieces of legislation (one which was signed into law by the Governor, and the second allowed to lapse into law), which proposed funding options inclusive of federal relief funds for community-based programs. These proposals mirror the spending options provided to the Governor in those previous measures.
Senators Moylan, Ada, and Duenas have expressed “These federal funds are a much welcome infusion for our economy and stability, and before funds are quietly expended on contracts and political hires, we felt it would be irresponsible if a percentage of these funds were not placed directly into the hands of island residents. This would be through increasing their disposable income, creating new jobs, encouraging financial independence, providing needed assistance, and injecting economic activity. These investments will essentially get Guam moving towards recovery.”.
The bill’s authors have stated that additional measures as part of the “Let’s Get Guam Moving” Initiative are forthcoming, and that they will be leading a series of village town halls to attain the input of the community.