Third bill introduced to cushion Guam businesses from lingering Covid impact
By Pacific Island Times News Staff
Sen. Joe S. San Agustin today introduced a bill appropriating $15 million from the general fund to rescue Guam businesses from the lingering impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Bill 75-37 was the third legislative proposal to provide new stimulus grants for local businesses.
Last week, Sens. Chris Barnett and Frank Blas Jr, proposed $10 million and $15 million, respectively, to extend the Local Employers Assistance Program or LEAP.
San Agustin said his proposal for a $15 million appropriation would supplement Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero's $5 million aid from American Rescue Plan funds.
“In the last week, we saw two other measures introduced to do the same and while we support the intent of both, my office has carefully put together Bill 75-37 (LS) to ensure we appropriate the funding in the proper fashion, by increasing the revenues adopted in the fiscal year 2023 budget," San Agustin said.
"This is the most fiscally responsible way to address the concerns of the businesses,” he added.
Under San Agustin's bill, the bailout would be similar to LEAP.
"It is not the intent of the measure to keep the program guidelines of the LEAP but to ensure the government may still assist businesses who are struggling to keep their doors open, even after the lifting of the pandemic emergency orders," the senator said.
“We assist our businesses and in turn, our hard-working private sector employees who serve our people in our food and service industry continue to feed their families and pay their bills that contribute to the revolving economy of our island," San Agustin said.
"We saw how successful and beneficial the LEAP was for many of the businesses that participated. This is just another way we can help keep their doors open and the employees earning for their families,” he added.