Speaker prepares twin bills to cover government shortfall - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Speaker prepares twin bills to cover government shortfall

Posted: Jul 09, 2018 3:51 PM Updated:

Last week senators repealed a 2% sales tax. But this week Speaker Benjamin J. Cruz introduces two new bills to raise taxes to help cover a huge shortfall in the government's new fiscal year budget. The measures could generate another $105 million in revenue by raising the hotel occupancy tax from 11% to 15%, and the gross receipts tax by another 0.5%, after it was earlier raised from 4% to 5%.

In a statement Cruz said he doesn't like either of the bills, "but no one can cut their way out of a $145 million dollar shortfall without catastrophic consequences."  The huge drop-off is blamed on the Trump tax reforms which made big cuts to corporate taxes, and more moderate reductions in individual taxes.

Meanwhile, Cruz is also proposing more cost-cutting to include no new hiring or new deputy directors, a freeze on pay increments, a general travel ban.

A public hearing is scheduled for Monday, July 16 at 5:30pm.

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