GUAM LAWMAKERS DID RIGHT THING IN TAX ROLLBACK

Editorial

Pacific Daily News

HAGATNA, Guam (Mar. 5) - A little more than a year after approving a 50-percent increase to the Gross Receipts Tax, senators made the right call and repealed the controversial tax hike.

The GRT increase was a mistake that proved to be very costly for the entire community, particularly those with low incomes, as the cost of living became more expensive and businesses cut hours and jobs to cope with increased costs.

Democratic senators attached the tax increase to a budget bill without any real study of its possible consequences. There were no public hearings on the measure. There were no commissions or task forces formed. The business community wasn't consulted. The decision was made by Democratic lawmakers and signed into law by the governor without any input but their own.

That kind of unilateral action is just wrong, especially when its impact on the community is so widespread and deep reaching.

The next time lawmakers are considering a measure that will have such profound consequences, they MUST, at a minimum, sit down with the business community to discuss it andA little more than a year after approving a 50-percent increase to the Gross Receipts Tax, senators made the right call and repealed the controversial tax hike.

The GRT increase was a mistake that proved to be very costly for the entire community, particularly those with low incomes, as the cost of living became more expensive and businesses cut hours and jobs to cope with increased costs.

Democratic senators attached the tax increase to a budget bill without any real study of its possible consequences. There were no public hearings on the measure. There were no commissions or task forces formed. The business community wasn't consulted. The decision was made by Democratic lawmakers and signed into law by the governor without any input but their own.

That kind of unilateral action is just wrong, especially when its impact on the community is so widespread and deep reaching.

The next time lawmakers are considering a measure that will have such profound consequences, they MUST, at a minimum, sit down with the business community to discuss it and to hear the private sector's opinions and thoughts on the issue. This doesn't mean that senators have to implement any of the comments they receive, or that they allow business to dictate legislative changes.

What it means is listening. What it means is giving the opportunity to be heard to those who will be affected by the measure. That's what our representative government is supposed to be all about. GovGuam is supposed to be of, by and for the people.

Senators know how to do this; they have done it for many months leading up to the recall of the GRT increase. They held multiple public hearings and received testimony from all sectors. They asked and answered questions. They debated the issue for long periods of time during session.

All they have to do is apply the same effort in the future. It's the right thing to do.

to hear the private sector's opinions and thoughts on the issue. This doesn't mean that senators have to implement any of the comments they receive, or that they allow business to dictate legislative changes.

What it means is listening. What it means is giving the opportunity to be heard to those who will be affected by the measure. That's what our representative government is supposed to be all about. GovGuam is supposed to be of, by and for the people.

Senators know how to do this; they have done it for many months leading up to the recall of the GRT increase. They held multiple public hearings and received testimony from all sectors. They asked and answered questions. They debated the issue for long periods of time during session.

All they have to do is apply the same effort in the future. It's the right thing to do.

March 5, 2004

Pacific Daily News: www.guampdn.com

 

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