Insular Affairs kicks can down road with less than $15 million for compact impact
Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Interior Department's Office of Insular Affairs has released $14.9 million in compact impact funding for Guam. That's an increase of less than $200,000 over last year to cover costs associated with providing social services to migrants from the Freely Associated States residing on Guam.
Guam Delegate to the U.S. Congress Madeleine Z. Bordallo and federal agencies have argued that this is far from meeting the actual costs imposed on Guam, as well as the CNMI and other U.S. points by Washington.
According to her news release, earlier this year, Bordallo worked successfully with the House Appropriations Committee to maintain $3 million in discretionary Compact impact funding above the mandatory $30 million minimum,which is divided among Guam and other affected jurisdictions. She also has championed legislation that would increase annual mandatory funding from $30 million per year to the full $185 million per year recommended by the federal Government Accounting Office watchdog.
The Office of Insular Affairs announced that Compact impact funding to GovGuam for fiscal year 2018 will support the following:
· $6,661,550 for the Guam Department of Education’s School Leaseback Program. Started in fiscal year 2007, the program helps to finance, design, build, maintain and leaseback four public school facilities: Liguan Elementary School; Adacao Elementary School; Astumbo Middle School; and Okkodo High School. Completed in 2008 and 2009, these schools have served Guam students since. Leaseback payments will be completed by 2023.
· $8,245,121 for GovGuam’s general operating expenses to reimburse costs associated with providing education, public health, and public safety-related services to Compact migrants.
Congresswoman Bordallo continues working to secure more federal Compact impact assistance for Guam and other affected jurisdictions.
She plans to reintroduce an expanded Compact Impact Relief Act to build off the success of her bill in the 114th Congress, which established a clear preference for U.S. citizens by law over Compact migrants for federal housing assistance programs like Section 8 vouchers. The Congresswoman’s forthcoming Compact Impact Relief Act will include innovative policy solutions to address Compact impact and bring more federal money and resources to Guam and other affected jurisdictions.
“The Compacts are an important national security agreement between the U.S. and the Freely Associated States, but continue to cause significant fiscal challenges to local governments," Bordallo said. "I appreciate the funds released by OIA Assistant Secretary Domenech for Guam’s share of Compact impact, which will be used for our public schools and to support day-to-day GovGuam operations. While these grants are helpful, the federal government must do more. I continue working in Congress to provide relief for Guam, and I am committed to bringing more federal money and resources to bear to alleviate the burdens the Compacts place on GovGuam’s resources."