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    Tuesday, April 24, 2018-12:56:59P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Bill seeks to exempt grocery items from Guam sales tax

HAGÅTÑA  — Sen. Regine Biscoe-Lee has proposed a bill that would exempt grocery items from the 2 percent sales tax which will be implemented on Guan beginning Oct. 1.

“Although I voted against a sales tax,” Biscoe-Lee said, “I hope to again secure the support of my colleagues for the Working Families Relief Act to ensure families can afford to buy these basic necessities.”

“I believe we all can come together to strengthen and support our families by ensuring that groceries, diapers, medicine and feminine hygiene products be exempt from sales tax. Passing this bill will directly support and strengthen Guam’s families and the businesses who serve them,” she added.

Regine Biscoe-LeeRegine Biscoe-Lee

  Gov. Eddie Calvo on Friday signed into law a bill that would raise the business privilege tax from 4 percent to 5 percent and implement a 2 percent sales tax. These taxes are projected to raise additional revenue that would help the government bridge the $67-million funding gap created by the federal tax cuts.

 “It’s with a sigh of relief that we saw Bill 248 pass at the legislature on Thursday,” the governor said in his weekly address Monday.

Biscoe-Lee said her  Bill 264-34 is

“a follow-up to an amendment that she proffered in recent special sessions as tax increases were debated.”

This proposed amendment was passed by her colleagues in an earlier version of the tax increase bills, but did not make it into the final version of Bill 248-34.

While voting against the tax increase bill, Biscoe-Lee said she is “committed to finding ways to mitigate the impact of the implementation of the sales tax increase on Guam’s families.”

Calvo on Monday said he will be meeting with senators to discuss a reorganization plan aimed at creating “a streamlined and more efficient government.”

He said the fiscal crisis did not end with the passage of the BPT tax hike and sales tax law.

“In fact, we still have some tough times ahead of us,” he said, adding that the administration has volunteered a 32-hour work week that is expected to last until next month.

“In the next few days, we’ll take our current financial state and look at what will be coming — cash wise — to see if furloughs are still necessary,” Calvo said. “This is what we warned senators of, the longer we delay in passing revenue enhancement legislation the tougher it would be to get back on our feet.”

Speaker Benjamin Cruz on Tuesday proposed the abolition of “less essential entities” in a bid to save 3 percent of the fiscal 2018 budget.

 “When Group 300 agencies account for just 3 percent of general fund dollars spent, abolishing agencies that serve the disabled, protect farmers, and help our people get to work aren’t going to get us all the way home — even if we recognized home once we got there,” Cruz said.

In light of the government’s dire financial state and the expanded reorganization authority granted to the governor of Guam by Public Law 34-87, Cruz commissioned a report to determine the maximum budgetary amounts that could be saved.