Mayors back 5 percent business privilege tax

The Mayors' Council of Guam is concerned that a drop in revenues for GovGuam would threaten funding that mayors rely on to support their mission.

The Mayors’ Council of Guam has written the 35th Guam Legislature expressing its support for the 5 percent business privilege tax.

“On behalf of the Mayors’ Council of Guam and the many people we serve, I ask that you consider the impact that Bill 9-35 and the loss of Government of Guam revenue would have on our organization and the critical services and programs that we provide,” MCOG President Melissa Savares wrote.

The Dededo mayor said the mission of all village mayors and vice mayors requires them to be the “first-responders” to a myriad of mandates that have been codified in statute as well as many services that many residents expect the mayors’ offices to provide.

“You are all aware of the many requests and concerns of our villagers as you too have been approached on many occasions whether it be streetlights, opening or repairing roads, illegal dumping, stray and dead animals, funeral assistance, rezoning, and the list goes on. We continue to provide these services today, even at the expense of our own personal funds,” Savares said.

She added that the Mayors’ Council of Guam has always been at the forefront of efforts of providing services to constituents, working in cooperation with many Government of Guam agencies to make services available and possible.

“But the fact of the matter is all our cooperation and support with each other is dependent on the availability of funds. Reducing the availability of funds, as ultimately would be the result of Bill 9-35, would make our already difficult work even harder. We plead with you to truly consider the impact and the ensuing problems that Bill 9-35 would cause to our villages,” Savares said.

Bill 9-35 would reduce the Business Privilege Tax from the current 5% to 4% and result in a $68 million revenue shortfall for GovGuam. Savares said MCOG is concerned that a drop in revenues for GovGuam would threaten funding that mayors rely on to support their mission.

“With the continued and growing need for our services in the community, we ask the Legislature to ensure the stabilization of GovGuam’s finances and refrain from reducing the BPT,” Savares said.

However, not all mayors signed the MCOG letter. Among those who didn’t sign were Agat mayor Kevin Susuico, Chalan Pago-Ordot mayor Jesse Gogue, and Piti mayor Jesse Alig.