Governor: Legislative Action Needed for Expanded Cash Assistance | Guam News

Governor Leon Guerrero has again responded to Senator James Moylan in their ongoing correspondence on extending assistance to Guam residents.

In a scathing response last month, the governor argued that direct aid using State and local coronavirus fiscal stimulus funds had to meet certain revenue guidelines and providing cash assistance to all families would violate federal law.

Leon Guerrero also berated Moylan, who is seeking a congressional seat, calling his position “ill-informed” and advocating “reckless” and “illegal” actions.

Moylan wrote to the governor again on July 27.

“If you think your hands are tied to how federal funds can be used, then why not think outside the box instead of outright denying aid to thousands of islanders,” said wrote Moylan.

“Here’s an idea you can consider: why not use some of those surpluses that your administration says exist in the General Fund to create a RISE Act program for those who don’t exceed certain income thresholds, and for those who are below , you can use federal funds,” the senator added.

The governor said legislative action is needed to direct funds for cash assistance to all individuals and households, regardless of income.

“If you believe that money from the General Fund should be used to provide cash assistance to high-income individuals and households, an income threshold that includes you, it is certainly within your purview to suggest to your colleagues in the ‘Legislative Assembly,’ the governor said.

The General Fund for fiscal year 2022 is currently aiming to end $99 million over budget, administration officials said. This large surplus was used to justify the recently adopted Electricity Credit Program, which allocates approximately $26.3 million to provide $500 in credits to all residential, prime-metered, and commercial customers, regardless of income. . The assets are to be spread out for invoicing over five months, starting in July.

Lawmakers also listed applicable federal appropriations as a possible funding source and noted that no local funds can be applied without first spending federal funds. This would presumably mean the CSLFRF.

Consistent with earlier statements about the inability to use this funding for programs as broad as the Credit Rate Program, Leon Guerrero wrote to Department of Administration Director Edward Birn on July 28, stating that federal funds will not could not be used for the credit program. She then ordered Birn to use General Fund credits instead.

In addition to income limits for the CSLFRF, the money cannot be appropriated by the legislature because it is at the governor’s discretion, the governor said. Recent increases in electricity tariffs, which prompted the program, have been attributed to the Ukraine-Russia conflict, rather than COVID-19. The governor also noted these reasons in his letter to Birn.

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