Guam – The legislature voted to repeal the 2 percent sales tax set to go into effect on October 1.
The lawmakers voted to pass Sen. Michael San Nicolas’ bill 262 by a veto-proof vote of 11 to 4 with nays from Republican Senators Wil Castro, Tommy Morrison, Louise Muna and a surprising nay vote from Democrat Speaker BJ Cruz. Bill 262 rolls back the sales tax and leaves the sunset provision in place for the 1 percent business privilege tax.
The governors office, meanwhile, is questioning why senators voted for the repeal of the sales tax, saying that they provided no solutions, leaving the government without funding sources at a time in which the Guam Memorial Hospital and the Guam Department of Education are to be prioritized.
Adelup has said that the sales tax does three things: (1) addresses the revenue collection shortfall caused by fedeal tax cuts, (2) ends the 40-year funding shortfall for GMH and (3) provides GDOE with funds for school improvements.
Of the 2 percent sales tax, 1 percent was earmarked for GMH and GDOE.
However, Democrat Sen. Regine Biscoe Lee, who voted in favor of bill 262, says now is not the time to place this burden on the backs of everyday families on Guam.
“I feel bad for the Calvo-Tenorio Administration. They’ve become over-privileged, under-informed and grossly out of touch. They just don’t get it. Everyday families are struggling and they won’t accept higher taxes from a government that wastes their money and misuses their trust. I may be a freshman, but I know this: their time is up,” she said.