Updated: Apr 14
The Covid-19 relief funds flowing into Guam from the federal government may have been keeping Guam's economy afloat but Rep. Michael San Nicolas reminded residents that the windfall will eventually stop coming.
"I don’t think there's going to be as much of a congressional appetite for more stimulus or more relief packages similar to what we've passed and what we have been passing," San Nicolas said at Tuesday's press conference.
There are speculations about a possible fourth stimulus check, even as the third round of economic relief is still reaching eligible Americans.
But San Nicolas advised Guam residents not to bank on another stream of cash when the Covid-19 relief programs under the American Rescue Plan expire on Sept. 30.
He noted that data sets coming out of the United States showed the job market is improving, GDP is clocking in possibly at 6 percent and the real estate market is "being red hot, and capital market being red hot."
On Guam, however, San Nicolas noted the uncertainty surrounding the recovery of the tourism industry considering that Korea and Japan-- Guam's main markets-- are behind on their vaccination rollouts.
San Nicolas urges Guam's working population to be prudent with incoming pandemic unemployment assistance and to return to work as soon as possible.
"We need to look forward to the future. We need to be on guard and be very careful on how we spend our money," San Nicolas said.
He advised residents against "luxury spending" and get themselves "back in the work mode."
Currently, Guam is receiving millions in federal relief funds such as the economic impact payments, pandemic unemployment assistance and child tax credit from President Biden's American $1.9 trillion Relief Plan. These programs are expiring in September this year.
Despite the sunset of federal relief packages nearing its horizon, small businesses are encouraged to continue rehiring efforts especially with news of additional funding separate from PUA.
San Nicolas shared a recent announcement that the Guam Economic Development Authority has received confirmation that up to $56 million has already been identified for the state small business credit initiative.
By December, eligible local businesses will be receiving a share of an $18 million tranche afforded to Guam under the State Small Business Credit Initiative program.
In March, Biden announced a $2 trillion infrastructure and transportation plan. According to San Nicolas, this major piece of legislation, once passed, will affect several important facets of the local community including the Guam Regional Transit Authority, the Fisherman's Co-op, and Section 8/Section 210 housing.
San Nicolas noted the importance of the housing programs saying this will "create resources for our local government to be able to make major investments in housing for senior citizens and housing for people with disabilities."
"I really think one way to bring down housing costs here on Guam is to grow our inventory," he added.
With this, combined with the modernization and expansion of the GRTA and Fishermans’co-op, Guam is looking forward to a more sustainable state in the coming years.