Amendment would appropriate up to $5M from bond refinancing savings to food assistance

Speaker Therese Terlaje (PNC file photo)

During the discussion of Bill No. 40-36 (COR) in session Tuesday, Speaker Therese Terlaje proffered an amendment to the bill to appropriate up to $5 million to the Department of Public Health and Social Services for the sole purpose of providing food and commodities for homeless individuals, unemployed individuals, children, and low-income families.

Bill No. 40-36 (COR) would authorize the refunding of BPT tax bonds to realize potential debt service savings. BBMR and GEDA testified that GovGuam could potentially achieve over $39 million in debt service savings; specifically $5M in FY 2021, $19.9M in FY2022, and $13.1M in FY2023.

Speaker Terlaje’s floor amendment passed with support from Senator Nelson, Senator Perez, Senator Joe San Agustin, Vice Speaker Barnes, Senator Shelton, Senator Ridgell, Senator Pedo Terlaje, and Senator Moylan.

“We have seen the long lines at various food distribution sites and have heard how food bags run out within hours, even now as our economy slowly reopens and regardless of the regular safety net programs through Public Health, Catholic Social Services, Salvation Army, GDOE, mayors’ offices, and despite the influx of additional CARES money, expanded SNAP and Medicaid, and extended PUA. It is important that we prioritize and take care of our most vulnerable populations immediately while we continue to work towards rebuilding our economy,” stated Speaker Terlaje.