Sen. Sabina Perez today wrote to Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero imploring her to lift her $30 million cap on the All RISE program so that every qualified resident can avail of the program. The text of her letter follows:
Håfa adai Maga’håga Leon Guerrero:
I am writing this letter respectfully requesting a revision of Executive Order 2021-18, which is intended to provide financial assistance to those impacted by COVID-19, in order to alleviate the unnecessary burden placed upon our community, as well as, the employees at the Department of Revenue and Taxation. I urge that revisions to the Executive Order include removal of the $30 million dollar cap with a deadline potentially set at June 1, 2022.
On the eve of the launch of the All RISE program, cars were lining up outside the Department of Revenue and Taxation in anticipation of submitting their application. This morning, the lines had grown substantially, and the online traffic for the All RISE application submissions had affected its operations. The response to the All RISE Program is sending a clear message: our people desperately need our assistance, which was also demonstrated within the first hour DRT had begun accepting applications.
The cap of $30 million dollars has created a mad rush and sense of panic for people to get their applications submitted. The media has even characterized the All RISE program, which is supposed to benefit all qualified individuals, as a “Hunger Games,” a Darwin-like race for the money.
DRT’s issued guidance has also created previously unforeseen disadvantages for certain individuals. Those who have either filed their returns after the date at which DRT has processed returns or filed their returns late because they don’t make enough income to warrant filing a return, are inadvertently placed in a queue that isn’t on a “first received, first payout” basis. This is the population in most need. They are our manåmko’, people with disabilities, and those who are working two jobs to try to put food on the table. These inequities are exacerbated due to the limited funding available for the All RISE program.
With the latest JIC release of 206 positive cases, 2 deaths, and a CAR score of 43.8, we must be cognizant of the extra exposure and increased risk to COVID-19 for our workers and the public. We must try and limit the exposure for the health and safety of everyone during this time.
I appreciate the efforts of Director Shimizu and the employees at the Department of Revenue and Taxation, in collaboration with the Mayors, DISID, and libraries in streamlining, outreach, and assistance in implementing the program. Their commitment to the people is commendable.
With the current situation of panic and the potential to increase community spread, immediate mitigation is needed. As a result, I urge a removal of the $30 million dollar cap with a deadline set potentially by June 1,2022.
As we adapt to this current situation, I am hopeful that necessary revisions to the All RISE Program are made with the utmost consideration to the health and well-being of our community.
Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions and I look forward to your response.
Si Yu’os ma’åse,
Senator Sabina Flores Perez