On November 23, Governor Ralph Torres (R) issued another round of stimulus checks for Northern Mariana Islands residents. The stimulus was specifically for electric accounts with the Commonwealth Utilities Corporation (CUC).
The CUC is a state-owned service that manages the Northern Mariana Islands’ electricity, water, and waste. Since the stimulus was issued only for CUC accounts, Governor Torres was able to issue the stimulus with only the cooperation of Finance Secretary David Atalig and CUC Executive Director Gary Camacho. Consequently, this stimulus, unlike those in the past two years, was issued without legislative approval or debate.
All residents of US territories received the three stimulus checks issued by the federal government over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. But Northern Mariana Islands residents have also been recipients of multiple other stimulus checks from the commonwealth concurrently with federal stimulus checks. In August of 2021, checks of $500 went out to anyone who filed for a stimulus check and each dependent. The same amounts were distributed subsequently in June 2022. Together, the two stimulus checks totaled $46.97 million, which was taken from the American Rescue Plan Act passed by President Joe Biden (D).
As for this stimulus, it’s unclear as of yet where the money will be withdrawn from, though it’s unlikely to be the American Rescue Plan Act again. Torres, ahead of the runoff that took place on November 25, addressed the stimulus recipients, saying, “I hope the utility credits will help you and your families gain a sense of relief to focus on what matters most, our families, friends, and loved ones.”