Conditional license proposal seeks to lift pressure on Guam's startup businesses
By Pacific Island Times News Staff
Sen. Dwayne T.D. San Nicolas has introduced a bill that would allow startup businesses to set their plans in motion while navigating the bureaucratic labyrinth to complete the permitting process.
Bill 168-37 would authorize the Guam Department of Revenue and Taxation to issue conditional business licenses while applicants are in the process of obtaining the permits required to open a business.
“I'm looking for every avenue to support businesses and get people back to work,” said Sen. San Nicolas, author of Bill 168-37. “When I ran for public oﬃce in 2022, I told the people of Guam that I want to grow the economy, which this bill, once passed, will do.”
One of the major and daunting hurdles of starting a business is the process of applying for the necessary permits for a business license, a hurdle that can easily be remedied by providing a conditional license, according to the bill.
Currently, depending on the type of business, applicants for a Guam business license will need to go through several Government of Guam agencies like the Department of Public Works, Guam Land Use Commission,
Department of Public Health and Social Services, and Guam Fire Department to obtain multiple permits.
Each required permit mandates an inspection process before the permit is provided, which takes up valuable time.
Delays in procuring these permits and requirements drastically impact and slow down the process of obtaining a business license to the point that some businesses are forced to cease operations or prevent newly established businesses from opening their doors to serve our island, hindering the growth of our economy, the bill states.
The legislature also ﬁnds that allowing businesses to operate under a conditional business license will create more revenue for the government and encourage the growth of businesses on island.
If the bill is enacted into law, DRT would be required to process conditional business licenses as it would other licenses, putting a reasonable fee on it and gaining a new revenue source for the agency.
The bill aims at encouraging more enterprising individuals to pursue their business aspirations by providing them leeway and flexibility to apply for the necessary permits and licenses for a business license.
With the leeway provided by a conditional license, business aspirants will not be dissuaded and discouraged if they fail to meet the standards, as they will have the time to address them properly.
“Conditional business licenses are both beneficial to the business sector of our island and our government,”. San Nicolas said.
“I intend to authorize the DRT to issue one-year conditional business licenses to qualifying businesses. This legislation will not only benefit the business sector of the island by providing them flexibility in adhering to the requirements of a business license but also our government by creating a new avenue for revenue," he added.