Calvo: wage increase needs to be balanced - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Calvo: wage increase needs to be balanced

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by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - The community continues to weigh in on legislation to raise the minimum wage. In fact, Governor Eddie Calvo made it the focus of his weekly address for the second week in a row saying while it has a noble intent, it shouldn't be rushed.

Calvo says when it comes to raising the minimum wage, he believes in a balanced approach. "When Senator BJ Cruz introduced his legislation to raise the minimum wage, it's got noble intent, but I also felt just as well with those other republican senators and Chris Duenas that you really need a real wage increases and that means ensuring you balance some of those cost increases in personnel with some reduction in costs in other areas when it comes to our business community."

Bill 316 would raise the minimum wage by $0.95 over the next three years. The GOP sponsored Bill 323 would reduce gross receipt taxes to 3.8%. Governor Calvo says he was in support of this balanced approach but has heard some concerns since the public hearing. "But what I have been hearing comments over these past few days, some in the business community don't believe it is not an equitable balance whatever increase in operating cost as a result of the minimum wage increase will far out weigh whatever benefits in the reduction from 4.0 to 3.8 of course the concern from the governor and for the administration any lower reduction in the GRT we have a concern as to whether we can fund critical services in education, health and safety," he said.

While he commends the collaboration between both parties, he caution's to be patient and prudent in gathering all the information and hearing what every stakeholder has to say. "One thing we don't want to do is we don't want to as a result of rushing legislation through we don't make it a more difficult situation for our workers and businesses in this time of Guam's history when things have finally stabilized," he said.

In his weekly address, Governor Calvo says raising the minimum wage isn't a magic wand in getting out of poverty. He says solutions instead need to be focused on making sure people know that minimum wage jobs should only be stepping stones toward more fulfilling careers.
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