This time it was the tax committee holding a roundtable meeting Tuesday on what to do in the wake of an estimated 48-million dollar plunge in tax revenue this fiscal year following the Trump tax reforms. The group of government and private sector tax and financial experts debated what specific taxes to raise. Revenue and taxation deputy director Marie Benito summed up what is becoming the most likely fix: a 3-year increase in the business privilege tax from 4-percent to 6, which is a 50-percent hike.
"I know that we're working out other options to present, but in the meantime we need a quick infusion of cash. That's reality. So yes you're right, we need to do something quickly because we are in trouble, and it is painful. Nobody wants a tax increase, but we need to increase tax", Benito said.
But Public auditor Doris Flores Brooks, and tax committee chairman Senator Joe S. San Agustin agree, in addition to raising revenue, the government also needs to look at cutting costs.
Brooks expressed, "To just expect that we're going to make this entire revenue shortfall simply by raising taxes and not do anything to the budget is asking to much of this community", with San Agustin agreeing and saying, "I agree with you Senator Brooks that until there's meaningful reduction we shouldn't be asking the people of Guam to pay more".
The group also discussed the implications of de-linking from the federal tax system. The consensus was this was probably not the best time for such a move.
Guam High School and surrounding homes at Naval Hospital have been evacuated after a bomb threat is called in Thursday afternoon. The threat specifically targeted the school. GPD and Navy police are sweeping the area with K-9 units. The Naval Base Guam Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit is standing by in the event anything is found. Guam Homeland Security officials say all measures are being taken to ensure the safety of the public and first responders involved.More >>