By Nancy I. Maanao
Sen. Jim Moylan wrote a list of options to Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero today that he believes will resolve the concerns that have kept her from paying the mandated local stimulus of $800 per qualified private sector taxpayer.
Whether the proposals will ameliorate her anxiety from paying the stimulus is another story.
Ms. Leon Guerrero has said she is seeking guidance from the attorney general on whether the stimulus law, P.L. 35-136 (the RISE Act), is legally enforceable because it pays a stimulus only to private sector employees. The governor raised the issue of fairness toward government of Guam and federal government employees.
"It was clear that when the measure was being discussed last year that the objective of Bill 340-35 was to support those private sector employees who were impacted financially due to the pandemic," Mr. Moylan wrote in his letter. "While no one intentionally intended on creating a disparity, it was also noted that throughout 2020, public sector employees were assured of an income, hence why the legislation passed unanimously, and you allowed it to lapse into law."
The senator then provided the governor a solution to the so-called disparity:
"I recommend that your office look at modifying the language of Public Law 35-136. First and foremost, the program should be focused on the income derived during tax year 2020, of which the filings are taking place this year. Those who were impacted financially by the pandemic would have seen a substantial reduction in their income in 2020, hence a formula should be included which considers a percentage decrease between the two tax years. Most public sector employees as well as government retirees would not have experienced that income reduction between 2019 and 2020.
"Once that formula is established, (d)(1) and (d)(2) of Section 2 of the Rise Act can be repealed (and any subsequent language associated with this in the Rules and Regulation). This would eliminate any concerns that the measure is only being established for private sector employees. Instead, The Rise Act would be focused on its original intent, which is to support those whose income was educed due to the pandemic, by establishing an income threshold."
Mr. Moylan has been front and center in the legislative effort to convince the governor to pay the local stimulus, which she initially supported, but then decided to allow to lapse into law without her signature. She had reservations about language added to the original legislation she endorsed.
You may read his full letter to her below: