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Guam Chamber responds to Governor Leon Guerrero’s State of the Island Address

Guam Chamber responds to Governor Leon Guerrero’s State of the Island Address

Guam Chamber responds to Governor Leon Guerrero’s State of the Island Address 

“Governor Leon Guerrero presented a realistic view of the impact the Coronavirus pandemic has had on our island community. We appreciate the support and partnership with the Administration in pushing forward with economic diversification initiatives imperative to revitalizing our economy. She is committed to and is supporting not only these initiatives but the processes that make doing business on Guam cumbersome. With the Governor’s Task Force to Reform Permitting Procedures, we look forward to eliminating permit lag times which have long frustrated our business community and has been a detriment to economic growth for decades. We look forward to the implementation of online business permitting which will be accessible at all hours of the day, creating efficiency and deliberate access for anyone wanting to do business in Guam.

With the support of the Guam Legislature and the Leon Guerrero Administration, the Dave Santos Small Business Act was most recently enhanced to help our small businesses that make $250,000 or less annually pay a 3% business privilege tax (BPT) rather than the current 5%. We applaud the Governor’s announcement that she will eliminate the sunset provision, making the tax cuts permanent should a senator provide corresponding legislation. We urge the Guam Legislature to act on this swiftly.

We agree with the Governor, that this will not be enough. The Guam Chamber believes that the business privilege tax should be further reduced to 4% for the entire business community. In her address, the Governor acknowledged the chilling effect this pandemic has had on our island, which has crippled our economy. Her support of reducing the BPT would demonstrate a government commitment to lifting our island out of devastation and further invigorating the island’s economic recovery through the support of local businesses. Although we understand the concern for reduced revenues for Government operations, the $661 million dollars the government will receive from the Biden Administration American Rescue Plan will provide the ability to recover lost revenues and improve government services. In addition, the reimbursement of 100% of the Earned Income Credit will mean an addition of approximately $60 million dollars of revenue for our government. These initiatives will more than compensate for the loss of revenue through the reduction of the BPT by 1%. Through this support of our private sector businesses, we are supporting job creation in our local community to provide jobs for the 30,000 residents who have suffered hardships and stress because of the Pandemic. In addition, as employment is reinstated and businesses become healthy, the government will benefit from increased tax collections as a result of higher business revenue and employee payroll taxes.

We applaud the Governors initiatives at workforce development. A focus on bringing STEM opportunities to our children at the elementary level is critical to our future. With the Guam Air National Guard’s establishment of STARBASE Guam, we look forward to exhilarating experiences for our young people in the world of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

The Guam Chamber is proud to be actively engaged in pro-growth outcomes which ultimately improves the lives of all people who call Guam home. We earnestly connect and interact with our local legislature, our Governor, our Congressman, local business organizations and federal officials on issues that impact the growth of our economy and the well-being our people.”

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