The Guam Chamber of Commerce says it’s not satisfied with the Governor’s “TEAM Guam” economic assistance plan meant for businesses trying to survive the blow of tourist cancellations.
The Chamber issued a statement Tuesday morning, saying they appreciate the efforts of the governor but they don’t believe her plan truly offers relief to island businesses.
Christine Baleto, the chairwoman of the Guam Chamber, says deferring Business Privilege Tax payments for three months, as the governor is proposing, isn’t enough.
“On the deferment of taxes, the situation is not going to improve a few months down the line for them to be able to pay. You know, ultimately, what we’re going to experience in the community is a lack of revenue and an inability to pay bills because those expenses are just going to continue to stay,” Baleto said.
The Chamber says it wants the government to step up its support by offering what they call a more robust relief plan.
PNC caught up with the Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero today and while she had not had a chance to read the Chamber’s full statement, she said they have not offered her any solutions.
“If there was a concern, they should have brought it up to me personally and given me ideas on how we can really help the workers,” the governor said.
She added: “I was hoping that they would be a little bit more grateful and appreciative of what they say. Although they say it’s not enough, it’s just kind of disheartening that that’s their reaction. Certainly, when I was at the meeting, when I invited all the business people, they were very grateful.”
The Chamber insists the plan does not address the core problem, which is keeping working hours for employees.
To which the governor said: “I am worried about decreasing the working hours of our residents, our people. I am working to see how we can temporarily put them in jobs with the displacement program that the Department of labor has.”
Leon Guerrero says her administration is also looking for federal economic dollars to help out.
“Vice President Pence this morning did say that the economic council president is working very feverishly for an economic stimulus plan and they will be bringing that out, announcing it tomorrow,” she said.
The governor says any resident needing assistance can turn to existing social safety nets like food stamps, public assistance, MIP and Medicaid.