Senator James Moylan and Ben Sorvino talk about the ABLE Act bill with Tony Lamorena

Written by on April 4, 2022

Senator Moylan’s ABLE Act bill was recently brought into session. Though Public Law 34-144 has been in effect since December 2018, several unforeseen circumstances and hurdles have stunted its implementation.

The intent of the public law and the current bill was to assist individuals with disabilities and their families through a tax-exempt savings account.

According to Moylan, a tax exemption account allows friends and family to donate to the individuals for additional expenses, especially considering the inflation rates that Guam and America at large are starting to see. This assistance helps not jeopardize their current funding.

There are multiple reasons for the delay in its implementation, the most important being funding.

Moylan argued that the Legislature has often provided tasks to agencies without first providing assistance in the form of monetary funding.

He adds that this program is a banking and savings program that requires consultation from the banks, a program coordinator to oversee the operations, and start-up costs. Included with the funding delay there is also a conflict of interest between DRT and the program.

The Department of Administration has agreed that it is the best agency to take up the job, as it eliminates a conflict of interest.

Lastly, the bill looks to also provide a funding source by authorizing the governor to identify and transfer up to 250,000 from the general fund or special fund to initiate the program.

This program is duplicated on the national level with around 40 states that actively have this program. This would make Guam the first territory to enact this program and implement it if passed. Through island-wide research, the program could approximately affect around 30,000 applicants within our community.

This bill was discussed on the session floor last Friday and was moved to the 3rd reading file by the 36th legislature and will be voted on by this week.

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