We the people are suffering with power, gas, and everything as the cost for living presents an entirely new challenge, especially for the poor and those on fixed-incomes. The federal government sent help to the people in the form of over a half-billion dollars and yet the first thing this governor did was to put $80 million on a homestead plan that we the people don’t even need at this point in time. The governor needs to take that $80 million back and give it to the newly established medical referral program, as it is needed now and health issues surely supersede a homestead program we don’t need. Yes, the governor has given us a few crumbs of the stimulus funding but he needs to do a whole lot more as we are suffering. There needs to be a steady stream of stimulus support for the people until the money runs out, instead of this piecemeal stuff the governor is doing.
1. A monthly subsidy of at least $50 to $75 with our power bills, applicable to everyone or at least those people on food stamps as it’s a clear fact they are suffering. These people can get their CUC voucher when they pick up their food stamps.
2. A monthly subsidy of at least $100 for all retirees who are also living on a fixed income.
3. The bonuses are great for public employees and I offer kudos to Sen. Edith Deleon Guerrero and the co-authors of the bill. But these bonuses should also continue until all the funding is spent. Working people need and deserve a pay-period stimulus pay for everyone working and paying taxes.
These three ideas really represent the “stimulus support reform” for what a lot of the federal stimulus funding was intended—to help people.
People are asking me to please say something as it has gotten ridiculously expensive to live in the CNMI while wages and retirement checks for people have remained virtually the same for the past two decades. Well, I have offered my suggestion as you can see above, but the question is: Will the powers-that-be listen? Maybe the House can generate a resolution to spend the remaining stimulus funds, as it’s obvious the governor didn’t get full reprograming authority and it seems the governor doesn’t really know what to do now or he would have told us. But he and his lawyers are too busy trying to beat the system, instead of coming up with a permanent plan to help people who are suffering with their bills in this inflation, along with the need to improve our healthcare system and human services infrastructure.
FYI, governor, all of America is experiencing an inflation explosion for virtually everything and it’s twice as hard on citizens in the CNMI, as prices and the cost of living have always been higher in the CNMI than on the mainland. If you truly care about your people, then spend the remaining stimulus funding on people, because you can’t go wrong if you treat people like your own. It’s truly time to “come to Jesus,” governor, as we say in the hood, and do some good in the neighborhood by creating real and perpetual stimulus relief reforms that your people need and stop this piecemeal stuff you are doing, which is literally like putting a Band-Aid on a broken arm.
Ambrose M. Bennett
Kagman III, Saipan