San Nicolas bares US Treasury clarifications on use of Guam’s ARP money

(Congressman Michael San Nicolas during Thursday's Zoom news conference)

Congressman Michael San Nicolas briefed island media Thursday about the latest US Treasury clarifications on the American Rescue Plan money given to GovGuam, including the availability of EITC reimbursement, local funding intended for mayors, and the set-aside for a new hospital.

San Nicolas said his office reached out to the US Treasury to get “clarity” on these matters, which he said have remained unclear.

On the EITC reimbursements, which the legislature is banking on to bolster GovGuam agency budgets, San Nicolas said Treasury informed him that Guam should not be expecting any kind of EITC reimbursements for 2020 coming in during the remainder of this year. “It should be coming in next year 2022,” the congressman said.

He added: “So I would say let’s wait until we actually have the money before we go out and commit because there’s a risk that the EITC might not hit the coffers prior to the expiration of the fiscal year. But you know, that’s ultimately going to be a decision by the legislature.”

On the mayors’ funding, San Nicolas said that the US Treasury is apparently operating under what the administration is communicating to them. He said that according to the US Treasury, the non-entitlement unit funding had already been remitted back in June.

“So all the money has been received by GovGuam. And so the question remains, where’s the mayors’ money?” the congressman asked.

And finally, on the money for the new hospital, San Nicolas said Adelup has constantly been saying that they’re waiting for Treasury guidance.

“But the US Treasury came back and said, ‘please know that the US Treasury is not pre-approving proposed expenditures or calculations of revenue loss. They’re basically saying that the US Treasury is not going to be giving any special guidance,” the congressman said.

With the clarifications that the US Treasury gave out, San Nicolas said it is clear that the information Treasury released is not jiving with the communications being released by the administration.

“So there is a very, there’s a serious lack of clarity, to put it nicely, on why exactly this money continues to be held up. The debacle is that all that federal money is going to GovGuam but where it’s going, and how things are being interpreted at this time, is functionally very different from the spirit of the law,” San Nicolas said.