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'Our future is bright'

Updated: Mar 6

Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero says Guam's economy 'grows stronger every day'


‘By Pacific Island Times News Staff

 

After surviving the Covid-19 pandemic that was tailed by Typhoon Mawar last year, Guam’s economy has reemerged with strength, optimism and new opportunities, according to Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero.

 

Despite the remaining challenges ahead, the governor said Guam’s economy “grows stronger every day.”

 

“Thanks to those who believe in Guam… I am proud to report… that the State of our Island is strong, and our future is bright,” Leon Guerrero said in her state of the island address delivered Tuesday night before the 37th Guam Legislature at the Congress Building in Hagatna.

 

Leon Guerrero said her administration “delivered” and executed its plans amid doubts and skepticism from critics.

 

“They said that our goals were too ambitious.  That our plans were too optimistic. And that our deepest hopes for Guam’s future were too far beyond our reach,” she said.

 

“They challenged the way we prioritized federal funds within my discretion—never fully realizing that approximately $200 million went to help individuals, small businesses, and the public at large,” she added.

 

Billions of federal dollars have flowed into Guam since the pandemic. The disbursements of the Covid funds have stirred a ruckus between the governor and the legislature.  

 

The governor said her fiscal team has been “wrongly accused of not being transparent despite the growing number of mandated financial reports sent to this body monthly.” But she maintained the funds have been wisely spent and government finances have stabilized.


"Our Rainy Day account has real cash in it… unemployment is down to 4.1%, private sector weekly wages are up 11 percent, nearly 2,000 private sector jobs were created in the last year alone–and more people–not less are participating in the job market compared to a year before," Leon Guerrero said.

 

“For the first time in 22 years, Guam’s general obligation bonds are investment

grade. This means that if we stay the course, our future investments in schools,

roads, vital infrastructure, and, yes - a hospital - will cost taxpayers less,” she said.

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“It also means that the world’s best financial minds–people with years of experience and billions of dollars on the line–reviewed the facts, reconciled the numbers, and they, too, believe in the progress achieved under our financial management,” she added.

Leon Guerrero is serving her second term as the island’s governor. This year, Guam will hold the midterm elections for the legislature and other public offices amid impending major changes that will entail the Marines’ relocation from Okinawa. The first flow of the Marines is expected to arrive by the end of the year.

“We know things are nowhere near perfect. We still face challenges… We still contend with problems that have plagued us for years,” the governor said. “And change never happens as quickly as some think it magically should.”




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