Pacific Daily News

HAGATNA, Guam () - The Legislature needs to repeal the increase in Gross Receipts Taxes to stimulate economic growth, and there's no reason it can't happen during the current session, now that Democratic lawmakers support a rollback.

In October of last year, the Democrats in the Legislature rejected a measure that would have allowed Guam's voters to decide whether to eliminate the 50-percent Gross Receipts Tax increase. And that came after months of stalling a vote on the voter-introduced bill.

But after the governor's State of the Island address Tuesday, Speaker Ben Pangelinan said that instead of increasing the budget to meet a projected $30 million increase in government revenues, GovGuam might as well maintain current spending and repeal the GRT increase. Pangelinan said his sentiments reflected that of the Democratic majority, and with Republican lawmakers having been against it from the beginning, elimination of the increase should be swift and easy.

There's no time like the present. Democratic senators pushed the GRT increase through in a very short time last year, so there's no reason they can't repeal it just as quickly.

February 5, 2004

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