Each war claim, regardless of the date of death, would be awarded compensation under a new bill that would tap the business community for a proposed expansion of the Guam war claims program.
“We have heard the calls from survivors and their families still seeking closure for this dark time in our island’s history, and we know that this is the right thing to do,” said Sen. Amanda Shelton, author of Bill 220-36.
The bill proposes a tax credit program to allow businesses to pay war claims directly to claimants and later avail of tax credits to be issued against unpledged business privilege taxes.
Bill 220 provides $75 million funded through the tax credit program and an additional $75 million through Section 30 appropriations over a five (5) year period.
Bill 220-36 is cosponsored by Vice Speaker Tina Rose Muna Barnes and Sen. James C. Moylan.
“No amount of money can ever bring our loved ones back or erase their suffering, but we have the opportunity to provide a path forward to fulfill a promise to our survivors and make them whole," Shelton said.
“So long as this debt is owed to Guam’s Greatest Generation, we cannot give up this fight. This isn’t about politics—it’s about recognizing the suffering our elders endured. This bill will finally close this last chapter once and for all,” said Muña Barnes.
“There has been an influx in constituents requesting serious consideration for descendants to be included in the local plan; however, doing so would require creative, outside-the-box thinking when it comes to funding. I commend Senator Shelton for her efforts in bringing this recommendation to the table and believe that when it comes to addressing the local government's attempts with War Claims, that this measure be the priority for lawmakers to discuss,” Moylan said.
The current program, locally created, used Section 30 funds to compensate war claims that have been adjudicated.
The tax credit program will allow businesses to pay claimants directly and receive a dollar-for-dollar match for a tax credit from the government of Guam, swiftly issuing payments to claimants who have not already received a war claim.
The bill will also require the Department of Administration to deposit $15 million each fiscal year for five years, from Section 30 funds into the Guam War Claims Fund.
These funds will only be used for the purpose of continuing to pay adjudicated Guam World War II claims, in respect to the order of priority of claimants set by the bill.