GFT supports adequate and responsible funding of our government operations. The government is our largest employer, drives the economy and provides essential services. When the government is inadequately funded, the economy suffers, people suffer, and government services suffer. Therefore, GFT stands in opposition of Bill 09-35 that purports to roll back the Business Privilege Tax (BPT) from 5% to 4% and thereby reducing the government’s operating capital by approximately $54 million dollars.
PL 34-116 raised the BPT from 4% to 5% just months ago. The tax increase was necessary in response to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in order to save off the layoff and/or furlough of thousands of public employees, a down turn of economy, crisis at the hospital, shutting down of police stations and fire stations, freezing salaries and more stemming from the reduction of revenue facing the government. Guam was faced with a crisis situation and the legislature responded in an appropriate and responsible manner by reducing the cost of government operations and implementing the new 5% BPT.
The condition the legislature responded to by enacting the new 5% BPT remains in place today. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is still in effect and continues to negatively impact government revenue. Presently, the government finances seem to be in order and manageable. There exists no good reason why the government should roll back the 5% BPT to 4%. In due time, Trump’s Tax Cut and Jobs Act will expire on its own terms and that is the time to revisit this issue.