by Ken Quintanilla
Guam - Come January the minimum wage on Guam will go from $7.25 to $8.25. Governor Eddie Calvo today signed substitute Bill 316 today which gives a $1 increase to the minimum wage. The substitute version of Bill 316 was a compromise from the republicans in the legislature. The original version by Vice Speaker BJ Cruz proposed raising the minimum wage by $0.95 over the next three years until it reaches $10.10.
A majority of the island's business community however were opposed to Cruz's proposal.
The governor in the meantime also signed Bill 359 into law. The measure was passed by lawmakers less than 24 hours ago in special session called by the governor. The measure partially funds the budgetary shortfalls within the Guam Medicaid Program. The bill also contains components that would address the high causes of preventable diseases in our community, empowers the non-communicable disease consortium and allocates funding to the GMH OB/Maternity Ward.
Calvo called the compromise reasonable adding both sides don't get everything they want, but many people win because cooler heads prevailed. "Most importantly, the lowest wage earners will be getting a pay raise. That is meaningful to struggling families, especially with the growing price of gas and oil that is making everything so expensive," he said.
The governor added that its important to recognize that this is not the solution to the issue of higher wages. It does not help the single mother making $13 an hour trying to afford daycare for her kids. It does not help the young father struggling to support his family of four with a $35,000 salary. He said the solution is early childhood education, higher learning standards and skills training. You can listen to the governor's special address on his YouTube channel.