Vice Speaker continues to push for audit of military contracts

Vice Speaker Tina Muna Barnes (PNC file photo)

Vice Speaker Tina Muna Barnes gave an update on her efforts to audit taxes collected on military contracts.

Last month, the Vice Speaker requested that the Public Auditor audit taxes collected on military contracts.

In a letter to the Public Auditor, the Vice Speaker drew attention to several audits conducted by the Department of Interior’s Inspector General in 1998, 2008, and 2014.

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The audits concluded that GovGuam lost millions of dollars in potential revenue because of inadequate tax collections, especially on military contracts.

The Vice Speaker told Newstalk K57’s Pauly Suba that it’s important to address the issue because for Guam every tax dollar counts.

“As I was looking at one of the Inspector General’s report that relates to the Guam Business Privilege tax, something that was done since 2014, there’s a schedule of monetary impacts of 60 random contractors…six contracts didn’t pay..and 10% of non-compliance may not be a lot to the federal government, but to Guam it’s looking at over $414,000. Almost half a million. Those things really add up,” Barnes said.

The Vice Speaker also said that one of the keys to improving tax collections is upgrading the Department of Revenue and Taxation.

“With the influx of military spending, we need proper resources and staff to properly manage it. And the situation at the Department of Rev and Tax is not unique to this administration, the reports that have come in span multiple administrations…I must note that the good director Dafne Shimizu and her team have done an amazing job,” Barnes said.

She added: “But the fact is that they really still need help, and if we want to stop the bleeding and ensure Guam is getting the taxes we are owed, we have to invest in the staff and technology to truly make it happen.”