Hagåtña, Guam – The Office of the Governor issues the following statement on the 37th Guam Legislature’s passage of the LEAP and Power Credit Bills:
The Leon Guerrero-Tenorio Administration has supported the Local Employers’ Assistance Program (LEAP) since its inception. For the first round of LEAP, Governor Leon Guerrero provided $37.5 million in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding, and the Legislature appropriated $25 million in local funds. With the proposed second round of LEAP, Gov. Leon Guerrero committed another $5 million in ARP funding, and that commitment remains unchanged.
What has changed is the amount of local funds the Legislature has proposed for LEAP. In the last two months, lawmakers have introduced multiple versions of the LEAP bill, with the first version committing only $5 million in local funds and the final bill now appropriating $15 million in local funds. Then to address power credits, lawmakers introduced legislation to appropriate $26 million in local funds. Gov. Leon Guerrero also supports this bill.
What this administration does not support is poor fiscal policy. Passing two bills that appropriate more money than is currently available is a fiscal policy that may lead to deficit spending. Hence, Gov. Leon Guerrero has cautioned lawmakers against unsound fiscal policies that create deficits.
In March, we collected $10 million above adopted revenue levels. And in April, we collected $8 million above adopted revenue levels. However, April’s numbers are still subject to verification when the final Consolidated Revenue and Expenditures Report (CRER) is released on the 20th. If these numbers are verified, then there will be $18 million available in excess revenues from Fiscal Year (FY) 2023.
By passing both bills, the Legislature is appropriating a total of $25.5 million in FY 23 excess revenues. The LEAP bill appropriates $15 million in FY 23 excess revenues as soon as such funds become available, and the Power Credit Bill appropriates $10.5 million in FY 23 excess revenues with similar language. This is more than the estimated $18 million currently available in FY 23 excess revenues.
While this is, by definition, appropriating more in excess revenues than is available, GovGuam’s collections are currently on a good track. It is Gov. Leon Guerrero’s hope that collections remain buoyant enough to meet the needs of both the business community and ratepayers.