All RISE race begins: No more payments once $30M cap is used up

Long line at Dededo mayor's office for All RISE mayor's verification. (Viewer submitted file photo)

Mayors Council of Guam President Jesse Alig confirmed that the All RISE program will be implemented on a “first-in, first out” or “first-come, first-served” basis.

The Mayors Council met recently with the Department of Revenue and Taxation and Alig said DRT confirmed that the All RISE program will be “first-in, first-out” and that when the $30 million cap is reached, there will no longer be any payments.

“I think everyone knows now that it’s really a first come first serve. And 30 million is the cap. And so, you know, there’s going to be a race to the finish line there … we hope that the people are preparing now so that when the applications are ready, they can submit them timely,” Alig said in an interview with NewsTalk K57’s Patti Arroyo.

DRT director Dafne Shimizu, in a separate interview with K57, also confirmed that the cap for the All RISE program is set at $30 million.

“It’s going to be first-in, first-out. So we’re going to be paying those out and drawing down on the $30 million as we continue to pay out,” Shimizu said.

When asked if GovGuam will try to accommodate everybody by decreasing the original payout of $800 for individual filers and $1600 for joint filers so that everybody can get a cut of the $30 million, Shimizu confirmed that the original amounts will be retained and will not be cut.

“Correct. That’s the way that we understand that the cap is going to operate so that, again, we’re able to pay out, we pay out in full the $800 or $1600, that goes out and we pay it first in, first out,” Shimizu said in an interview with Patti Arroyo.

Senator James Moylan has already asked Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero to increase the All RISE cap by using funds from the American Rescue Plan.

In a letter to the governor, Moylan said he was invited by Congressman Michael San Nicolas to participate in the US Department of Treasury’s Office of Recovery Programs virtual briefing, which took place early Thursday morning.

While the gist of the briefing was aimed at the reporting aspect from the spending, Moylan said one thing that was very clear was that the Government of Guam can use the ARP proceeds to pay the All RISE Act.

“The briefing outlined what has been expressed on many occasions since the ARP was enacted on where those federal funds can be expended, and ‘Economic Hardship’ was clearly expressed. This primarily includes supporting families through a period of financial struggles, and the Rise Act is certainly one approach. The ARP funds have been sitting in the government of Guam’s accounts for quite some time now, as many residents continue to struggle in finding ways to make ends meet. While the Rise Act may not solve all the problems of every family on the island, it is a start and for many, it will provide some relief,” the senator said.

Moylan also asked the governor to issue an executive order to eliminate the need to “apply” for the program.

“Since the Department of Revenue and Taxation has the income information of taxpayers, shouldn’t that suffice regarding the income qualifier for the RISE Act? This would eliminate the need for qualified residents to run around to seek needed documents,” Moylan said.