Public hearing set for new Bill 20 - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Public hearing set for new Bill 20

by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - A public hearing has been set for Senator Dennis Rodriguez Jr.'s substituted version of Bill 20 otherwise known as the GMHA Healthcare Trust and Development Act of 2013. The bill would provide financial relief to the hospital and set up a foundation to get the hospital back into financial stability.

The original Bill 20 specifically would provide $8.5 million in annual revenue stream funded by a 4% fee assessed on premiums collected by health insurance companies on Guam.

The bill had a public hearing but while on April's session agenda, Senator Rodriguez decided to refer the bill back to his committee to spring up other alternative funding sources. During a public hearing, insurance companies said as a result of the bill, premiums would have to be raised.

Among the changes in the substitute version include removing the provision related to insurance companies and instead financing the fund through licensing fees, GRT and income tax collected from the companies involved in electronic gaming devices registered with the Department Of Rev And Tax.  These include the Liberty, Symbolix and Match Play electronic gaming devices.

The measure also notes, the collection of a special 4% assessment fee on income on all gaming devices authorized to be licensed.

Rodriguez says the revenue stream would be a little less than the original proposal and hopes to get the exact figures during the public hearing. 

As we reported, these particular amusement devices have been under fire recently by the Attorney General's Office for several years, which instead considers them gambling devices and illegal under Guam law.

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