In the last issue of this paper, Guam-based bankers shared that while they had seen multiple deferments of all kinds of debts, their account holders were not spending money, but rather saving what money they could.
Since March 20, there have been few options in our islands to spend money, aside from groceries, gas and takeout from those restaurants that did choose to open to serve our community. A number did not.
In Guam, the malls recently opened on either May 10 or May 11.
The malls have not been full, and the offerings have been limited, though more good news of stores opening is reaching the Journal and posted in our news updates at mbjguam.com.
Guam’s businesses have been gamely struggling on — and so have its residents.
People await paper checks for tax refunds and paper checks for economic stimulus money to arrive in the mail, as soon as the staff at the Guam Department of Revenue and Taxation can produce them.
They await unemployment payouts that the Guam Department of Labor has not produced —19,408 residents as of May 21.
Gov. Lourdes A. Leon Guerrero said at one of the news conferences that she hosted that Guam’s people are afraid to venture out.
That may be. Safety is rightly a serious concern to all of us where COVID-19 has hit and where it has not, but many of the private sector workers in the hotel and restaurant industries in the islands are still waiting to return to work, to include Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.
Under such circumstances, who can blame people for not rushing to the mail to spend money?
Guam’s senators meanwhile have practically fallen over themselves in a rush to author and support bills to increase (yet again) payments for the Government of Guam’s frontline workers, despite warnings that the government cannot afford extensive payments.
Our businesses, their employees and the government desperately need the private sector to get back to work. Without private sector tax payments and with more payments for GovGuam workers, the government just will sink further into debt. mbj