No break for taxpayers

Twin bills seek to raise sin tax, property improvement tax

As Guam consumers and taxpayers brace for the 2 percent sales tax and business privilege tax increase under newly signed laws, a pair of new tax hike bills have been filed in the legislature.

Speaker Benjamin J.F. Cruz has proposed twin bills targeting tax increases on booze and tobacco products as well property improvement. The two tax increase proposals are projected to net a total of $27 million, which would be earmarked for the Guam Memorial Hospital and the Guam Department of Education.

Gov. Eddie B. Calvo on Friday signed into law two tax bills— one would raise Guam’s business privilege tax from 4 percent to 5 percent, and another implements a 2 percent sales tax. Both bills aim at closing the $67 million revenue shortfall caused by federal tax cuts, as well as providing subsidy to the government hospital.

“Now that we have stabilized the patient, government must look to increase revenues in ways that are tolerable to an economy,” Cruz said.

Cruz’s Bill 260-34 proposes to increase the excise tax on certain alcoholic beverages from 7 to 10 cents per each 12 fluid ounces on all malted fermented beverages and $18 to $25 per gallon on all distilled beverages.