Guam's spending plan for American Rescue Plan unveiled
Gov, Lou Leon Guerrero and Lt. Gov, Josh Tenorio today unveiled the administration's spending plan for the $570 million in federal stimulus grant received by Guam through the American Rescue Plan funding.
The spending plan, according to the governor, has two key components.
"First, we need to make smart choices about where to spend this money and how to combine it with other funding sources to maximize its effectiveness," she said, "and second, we need to make smart investments that take into account the stability of our island’s growth, so that our community can truly move forward together."
The spending includes funding for social programs and investment in local economy.
"No one can predict the future, but with thoughtful planning and careful choices, we can build a Guam that is more resilient and better suited to meet future tests with increased capability," the governor said.
Leon Guerrero presented details of "Investment Para Hamyo" which she said seeks to mobilize all of Guam's financial resources "for broader investment in you, and in our economic growth, tourism, health care, education, our public services, public safety, infrastructure and our environment."
Following is the full transcript of Gov, Lou Leon Guerrero and Lt. Gov. Josh Tenorio's announcement:
(Governor) Håfa Adai todus hamyo. For over a year and a half, our people have endured challenging hardships because of the Covid-19 pandemic. But all of you, in one way or another, have risen to this challenge.
(Lt. Governor) And while this pandemic storm has not yet fully moved past us, the sun of our recovery is peeking over the horizon. And we, your leaders, are going to help you: our frontliners and our first responders; Our small business owners and our workers; Our students, our teachers, and our families - through this recovery.
(GOV) We are going to help you get back to work; to pay your rent, mortgage; and your power bills; and to put food on your tables. The Biden Administration’s American Rescue Plan Act which Guam has received $570 million, is one of the most progressive pieces of legislation in history and is designed for our entire nation to “Build Back Better.”
Lieutenant Governor Josh and I are maximizing the life-changing power of this federal funding by investing in all of you through innovative plans for Guam. Because investing in our community’s collective future means investing in our island’s future. It is an Investment para Hamyo.
(LT) We have already, through our Department of Revenue and Taxation, put 180-thousand stimulus checks amounting to $430 million into your hands; And to those of you who qualified, we pushed forth a further $38 million to struggling families through our local “All Rise” Program;
Our Department of Labor built from scratch an unemployment program that quickly and efficiently distributed $805 million in financial assistance to over 30,000of you who were displaced from your jobs;
Our Guam Economic Development Authority provided $27 million in assistance to small businesses and their workers,and our Department of Administration pushed out $6.9 million in relief funds to help you pay your rent;
Our Guam Department of Education, along with our mayors and civic groups, distributed $3.5 million worth of food to residents--that’s more than 91,000food commodity bags to families throughout the island.
And our vital services, such as public safety and law enforcement, and emergency and mental health services, and the Port’s cargo services and delivery of consumer goods, remained fully operational even at the height of the pandemic.
And of course, our brave health care heroes at our hospitals, Public Health, and at private clinics around the island, with your help and support, implemented lifesaving measures to control the outbreak.
We’ve administered more than 290-thousand tests; we traced countless close contacts, and we’ve provided Covid-19 antibody treatment to hundreds infected with the virus.
Our vaccination program has fully immunized more than 124-thousand people - with more to come. And it is working. Positive cases are trending downward, and so are our COVID hospitalizations.
Throughout this struggle, we have kept a tight lid on local government spending, nearly eliminating an $83 million dollar deficit that was decades in the making. We have made the most balanced, fair, and fiscally responsible decisions to maximize this funding, not only for your individual benefit but for the benefit of our entire community. We are investing in programs that will help our students to recover from having their education turned upside down over the past year and a half - programs that will put them on a path to achieving once again -- and keep them in the classroom; Weare investing in small businesses to keep them from shuttering their doors; and We are investing in building a healthier and mås metgot community. Investment para hamyo moves us forward together.
Because Now is our time to invest in Guam and build our island back better - for all of our people - para todus hamyo. (GOV) THE PLAN With the $570 million in American Rescue Plan funding, we need to do two things:
First, we need to make smart choices about where to spend this money and how to combine it with other funding sources to maximize its effectiveness; and Second, we need to make smart investments that take into account the stability of our island growth, so that our community can truly move forward together. No one can predict the future, but with thoughtful planning and careful choices, we can build a Guam that is more resilient and better suited to meet future tests with increased capability.
Investment para Hamyo mobilizes all of our financial resources - American Rescue Plan funding, as well as other federal grants, bonds, and local funds - for broader investment in you, and in our Economic Growth, Tourism, Health Care, Education, our Public Services, Public Safety, Infrastructure, and our Environment.
(LT) ECONOMIC GROWTH The Guam Economic Development Authority is leading our Investment para Hamyo economic growth effort. The main goal is to help grow small businesses and entrepreneurship, and to create more private-sector jobs.
Our strategy involves investing in support for small businesses, and in those of you who have started up business ventures during this pandemic; we are investing in tourism; in agriculture and aquaculture businesses; in diversification; in a green economy; in workforce development; and in improving our economic data collection.
A few highlights of our economic growth plan include putting another $20 million in ARP funding into the hands of small business owners by way of the 2021 Guam Small Business PandemicAssistance Program. This is in addition to our LEAP program, which matches $25 million in ARP funds with $25 million from our General Fund.
We are giving another $1.9 million in ARP funding to our island’s farmers in the form of grants to help them recover, and to add to the $200 thousand in GEDA funds for its small business incubator program, to help those of you who have taken the leap to launch your own businesses during this pandemic.
Another $1.8 million in ARP funding is allocated directly to small businesses in the form of rental assistance payments.
We are also using $3.4 million in U.S. Department of Labor funding to help get our people back to work, by providing those of you seeking new jobs with free training programs like the GCC boot camps, in fields ranging from ship repair to health care to cyber security.
(GOV) Tourism While we definitely need to diversify our economy, our tourism industry is still our mainstay. We are investing in it because so many of YOU are invested in it - through your jobs and because your livelihoods depend upon our tourists returning. Investment para Hamyo focuses on a robust recovery of our tourism industry in order to produce private-sector jobs, and expand the participation of our local small businesses in our tourism industry.
Highlights include investing $20 million in ARP funds in GVB for the Reimagine Guam project to enhance our tourism profile and bring back our tourists, and $15 million to upgrade our airport facilities because our airport is the first and last glimpse our visitors see of our beautiful island.
(GOV) Health Care
(Governor) In order to invest in our economic recovery and the economic growth of our island, we must also invest in the health of our people. Our Administration is establishing a new vision for health care. Investment para Hamyo will use a combined total of $263 million in ARP, Defense Department, and local financing earmarked for a new Medical Campus in Mangilao that will house a new GMH, public health center,public health laboratory, and new buildings for the Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center and DISID. This new campus will be more centrally located for ALL of our people so that those who live in the north and the south will have expanded access to health care, as well as those who live in the central part of our island.
(LT) EDUCATION One of the most detrimental effects of this pandemic has been what it has done to our schoolchildren. Education as they have known it ceased to exist over the last year and a half. Our little ones haven’t even had the chance to attend a normal kindergarten or first-grade classroom. Older students were torn from friends, teachers, after-school activities, and sports. If we don’t
address the educational and emotional losses they have sustained now, all of us will pay down the road.
And we need to invest in the education of our adult population as well. You need opportunities to gain the knowledge and skills to be able to work at, and run local businesses, tend to our people’s health care needs, and fill other professional positions locally. Our Administration is partnering with the Guam Department of Education, the University of Guam, Guam Community College, and our private education institutions, in order to: ● Safely reopen our schools, ● improve online resources for our teachers in the classroom ● Create new opportunities for learning ● repair our public schools ● invest in UOG and GCC, and ● expand cultural resources. Our Guam Department of Education has received $397 million from the federal government - $297 million in separate ARP funding, and $110 million in Education Stabilization Funding from the federal government’s CARES Act, and through Investment para Hamyo, we are working with GDOE to use portions of this and other federal funding to accomplish most of these goals.
To open schools safely,$5 million in federal public health funds has been earmarked for covid-19 testing in both public and private schools;
Education Stabilization Funds will provide direct support and grants under our Governor’s Education Assistance and Youth Empowerment Program for a broad range of projects to educate, support, train, and empower our youth, including: Funds have been allotted for student social and emotional health programs because we know the pandemic has greatly impacted the social and emotional well-being of our school children;
We will also invest in facility improvements and sports programs run by our island’s mayors;
And we have focused resources for Special Education grants for children with physical, intellectual and developmental disabilities and autism programs. And GDOE has directly received $397 million in federal Education Stabilization Funding, of which $175 million has been earmarked for school repairs. Guam Community College and the University of Guam have each directly received millions in Higher Education Emergency Relief funding; To strengthen and preserve our CHamorro culture, $15 Million in combined DVD and ARP funding will provide us with a new cultural heritage repository.
And we have instructed the Department of Administration to launch a comprehensive wage study for educators to improve their wages. Finally, we will continue our work with the Superintendent of Education to finish the design phase and push the construction of a new Simon Sanchez High School.
(LT) IMPROVING PUBLIC SERVICES Governor Lou and I are committed to continuously improving public services. Toward that effort, and to improve care for our most vulnerable young ones, a new Child Wellness Division is being set up within the Department of Public Health and Social Services, and this division will invest $130 million in federal funding for child care programs.
We will use $80 million of that amount next year to launch a program to provide child care assistance to every working family in need with children aged 13 and below. And, we are committing $20 million of federal child care funding for child care providers, to stabilize our island’s daycare facilities and help employees needing to return to work.
Additionally, $93.5 million in Child Tax Credit payments are currently going out into the wallets of the families of over 30 thousand children.
To help working families and those most in need, $1.2 million in ARP funding is being used to help our veterans apply for and secure their rightful benefits. $1.5 million in ARP funding is being allocated for the Safe Haven program for the homeless, and GHURA has identified $1.6 million in federal funding for a new homeless shelter.
To help renters and homeowners during this public health emergency, $63.5 million in federal funds is being made available for the Guam Emergency Rental Assistance Program and the Guam Homeowner Assistance Program. An additional $700 thousand in community development block grants is being used by the Guam Housing Corporation to administer another mortgage relief program.
To improve efficiency - a constant complaint with regard to government services - we are investing $27 million in a combination of ARP and other federal funds in technology upgrades in many agencies, such as the Department of Revenue and Taxation, the Department of Administration, and the Department of Public Works, to name just a few.
We are also investing ARP funding in the Department of Parks and Recreation to clean up our parks, and in GTRA to help provide greener, more reliable public transportation.
(GOV) PUBLIC SAFETY Josh and I are adamant that every one of you be safe in your homes and on Guam’s village streets.
We will use ARP funding to invest $ 3.5 million for the hiring of 75 new police officers to protect and serve you and $9 million for their new communications system.
$200,000 in community development block grant funding is also being invested for a new eastern police substation and $3.5 million in DOI funding is being planned for a new Evidence Building.
$ 3.8 million in a combination of ARP, CARES Act, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration funding is being invested in Customs and Quarantine, in order to tackle the influx of drugs into our island - which a source of much of our crime, and many of our social issues.
$485 thousand in ARP fundingwill support the office of the newly hired ChiefMedical Examiner. A combination of approximately $10 million in combined ARP, Cares Act, and DOI funding is enabling us to invest in improvements at our Department of Youth Affairs and our Department of Corrections.
A new public law has authorized the financing for a new prison, and $700 thousand in federal funds has been earmarked for Covid detection and mitigation efforts for GPD, DYA, and DOC.
And $5.3 million in CARES Act, ARP, GEDA, and Community Development Block Grant funding is being invested in our Guam Fire Department.
(LT) INFRASTRUCTURE Investing in our people also means we must invest in the infrastructure that our people use - our roads, our public utilities, our port, affordable housing, and more.
DPW will be carrying out $43.6 million in federal highway fund projects, and we are using $2.7 million in Territorial Highway Fund projects, and $12 million in ARP funding to pave roads and conduct improvement projects in our villages. Governor Lou and I will move forward with infrastructure vitally important to our economy, including $203 million in Airport projects, $45 million in Port projects, $4 million in federal funding for a GRTA operations center, and $5 million in bond monies for a new Fisherman’s Coop.
We are making investments in our villages, including $14 million in water infrastructure.
We are earmarking bond monies to repair our swimming pools and an additional $6.6 million in federal and local funding will be invested in recreation facilities throughout the island. To build more affordable housing for our people,$66 million in tax credits from GHURA will be made available to finance new home construction for families who qualify by income level for this program.
To help our island’s children who are tragically not getting the care they need at home, we are using $1.5 million in Interior Department funding to invest in a new foster care facility. Another
$2.5 million from DOI will be used to build a permanent homeless shelter. To hold down your power and water bills,$29 million in ARP funding is given directly to GPA and GWA in subsidies. An additional $15 million in ARP money will provide us with a new gantry crane and other improvements at the Port, with the stipulation that Port tariffs are frozen for the next 2 years. This will help keep down your cost of living and the cost of goods for both the business sector and residents.
(LT) ENVIRONMENT Investing in our island’s infrastructure goes hand in hand with investing in our island’s environment. Our goals are to create a green economy that produces more private-sector jobs; to protect and maintain a clean island environment; and to create a sustainable community.
(GOV) Investment para Hamyo will use $15 million in ARP funding to support operations and capital investment in the Guam Solid Waste Authority. Complementing this effort are our Zero waste initiatives that will divert waste from the landfill and convert it into resources to fuel a green economy.
$1.5 million in local funds will be used for abandoned vehicle cleanup.
Utilizing a combination of ARP, CARES Act, and University of Guam Sea Grant funding, enforcement and environmental protection will be stepped up with a $1.6 million investment in the Guam Environmental Protection Agency and $1.7 million invested in our local Department of Agriculture in order to hire more Conservation officers, and provide them with new equipment, technology and supplies.
These are just some of the highlights of Investment para Hamyo - our very comprehensive plan to invest in you, our people, in programs to help you recover from this pandemic, and in islandwide efforts to forge a new path toward economic success. As we mentioned earlier, we are combining $570 million of ARP funding with federal -and in some cases with local- resources, in order to reach into every corner of need for our people and our island. One funding source cannot do it all. It is our job as your leaders to come up with the most efficient, most fiscally responsible combinations of these funding sources to invest in you, our people, and in the future of Guam.
We are committed to seeing Investmentpara Hamyo to fruition, and to committing all of these resources to make each of its components happen. Take advantage of the programs Investment para Hamyo is offering to make yourselves and your families stronger and more financially stable.
Everyone is tired of this pandemic - we know that. But we implore you to please, stay the course. In a few short days, we will begin the highly anticipated rollout of vaccines for children ages 5 to 11, in addition to continuing our campaign for booster shots for eligible adults.
(Governor) As we approach the holiday season, we give thanks for having made it through the crisis of the past year by working together. We are thankful to, and grateful for, every one of our frontliners who has selflessly served our people over the past 20 months. And we are grateful to you, our people, for having taken care of one another throughout this pandemic. Investment para Hamyo is a framework to continue to care and to work together to build the better Guam that we all deserve and envision for the future.