Speaker Therese Terlaje's Bill 265 received resounding support during a public hearing recently. The measure seeks to provide tax relief to property owners of one-family dwelling zones and agricultural zones amid a looming island-wide property revaluation.

 “It's a government sponsored theft.” That’s what one supporter calls the looming island-wide property revaluation that’s expected to worsen the already high cost of living. "That’s how I see it. ‘I’m going to put taxes on your land, and later down the road if you can’t keep up, I'm going to take that land.’ It's government sponsored theft," noted Tewid Meresbang, CEO/co-founder of Pacificnesian Equities, speaking in support of Bill 265. 

The measure would defer increases in the property tax assessment for property owners of one-family dwelling zones and agricultural zones until transfer of ownership.  "I just feel like this is not the time and feel like we have excess revenue that we seem to be able to use like pay roll raises and many other things," said Meresbang.

Despite the legislature removing funding authorization for a real property tax assessment from the governor’s Fiscal Year 2024 budget, the speaker says the governor and lieutenant governor are moving forward using $2 million from American Rescue Plan funds.

Activist Monaeka Flores with Prutehi Litekyan shared a similar concern, saying, "I was shocked to find that the governor was using emergency relief funds to spearhead this land evaluation. And I did see it, as my friend put it, a publicly funded death sentence in a way for people who wish to call Guam home but can’t afford to stay here and are forced to relocate or are forced to sell their property."

Farmer Jay Quinata added that the increased taxes would hurt the already struggling farmers. He said, "If we do the property taxes assessment and enforce the taxes, we’re going to lose a lot of farmers, because we’re barely making it." He also stated, "If you want Guam to be sustainable, if you want Guam to produce its own food and products, don’t hurt the farmers. That’s all I ask."

Some like realtor Gina Campos recommended the bill to expand to also include all residential owners and undeveloped land owners. By law, a revaluation of all property values in guam is to occur every five years. 

The last revaluation was ten years ago in 2014-2015.