Congressman Michael San Nicolas has introduced H.R. 4409 “The People Empowerment Act” which codifies into the Organic Act of Guam existing local law mandating a referendum before implementing a local tax increase or taking on more than $25 million in public debt.
San Nicolas said he filed the bill because of recent headlines revealing the Government of Guam itself is illegally not paying withholding taxes that are supposed to fund tax refunds.
The congressman said he is now making good on his promise to work to fix the local government’s repeated flouting of law.
“For years our local laws enshrined in the power of the people the final say on local tax increases and massive debt; local politicians have repeatedly ignored our own local laws and by extension the people of Guam,” San Nicolas said in a release.
He added: “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, our people have had taxes raised and our children and grandchildren saddled with billions in debt, all to continue expanding funding to a government that puts festivals and strawberries ahead of textbooks and broken roads. The idea that ignoring our own local laws and our own people in order to feed politicians and their crony appetites is the ultimate indictment of those who would dare to call this travesty ‘self-government’.”
San Nicolas continued: “The only way to put a stop to the backroom dealings that pervade our party politics and set our island on a course to truly look our people in the eye and ‘self-govern’ is to end the ability for politicians to ignore our own laws and force all local leaders to earn the support of the people when we tax and borrow.”
He added: “By enacting into the Organic Act mirror provisions in our own local laws to require referendums for tax increases or massive borrowing, our people will need to be satisfied that government spending and borrowing is in their best interest, and this alone will create the highest degree of accountability in public finance – the peoples standard.”