Chamber again calls for rollback of GRT

Christine Baleto, chairperson of the Guam Chamber of Commerce (file photo)

The Guam Chamber of Commerce reiterated its call for a rollback of the gross receipts tax during its general membership meeting on Wednesday.

Chamber Chair Christine Baleto informed the group’s members that a GRT rollback has been proposed in three different bills before the Legislature.

“We are eagerly waiting for the schedule of public hearings on these measures. The reduction of this tax on businesses will demonstrate the government’s commitment to lifting our island out of devastation, and further invigorating the island’s economic recovery through the support of local businesses,” Baleto said.

She added that although the Chamber understands the concern for reduced revenues for government operations, the $661 million support through the American Rescue Plan will provide GovGuam with the ability to recover lost revenues and improve government services.

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“The reimbursement of 100% of the earned income credit will mean approximately $16 million of revenue for our government. Further, the proposed tax increases, which was the justification for increasing the taxes on businesses in the first place, will provide further financial support for government services. These initiatives will more than compensate for the loss of revenue through the reduction of the BPT by 1 percent,” Baleto said.

According to Baleto, the GRT rollback will support more job creation for the thousands of residents who have suffered hardships and stress because of the pandemic.

Furthermore, as employment is reinstated and businesses become healthy, Baleto said the government will benefit from increased tax collections as a result of higher business revenue and employee payroll taxes.

“The government is already experiencing reduced revenue as a result of closed business activities. While the island is receiving the additional support from the federal government, it is imperative that they provide this much-needed relief to the private sector. We will need our membership to come out strong and support the rollback. It is important that you let your voice be heard and that we work together to rebuild our economy,” Baleto said.