Senators debate taxes, pay & health insurance for hotel employees

July 31, 2018

Hagåtña — Today was day two of session and Senators debated an increase to the HOT rates.

Sen. Regine Biscoe Lee finally acknowledged that the General Fund shortfall that agencies have been discussing since the beginning of the calendar year “is real.”

Sen. Lee asked Speaker Cruz where the money would go if there’s an increase in the Hotel Occupancy Tax rates.

In response to Sen. Lee, Speaker Cruz said the HOT, though it may come from the hotels, isn’t “just for the hotels.” He reiterated that repealing potential funding sources means either cutting government services or increasing funding through another means.

On July 17, 11 Senators rolled back a law that provided revenue source needed to address the $145 million shortfall caused by federal tax cuts, and stripped the Guam Memorial Hospital and Department of Education of $40 million in dedicated funding source.

The 11 senators who voted to strip away a funding solution are: Sens. Tom Ada, Frank Aguon, Fernando Estevez, Regine Lee, Telena Nelson, Jim Espaldon, Dennis Rodriguez, Joe San Agustin, Mike San Nicolas, Mary Torres, and Vice Speaker Therese Terlaje. Their decisions will derail the economy and leave the next Governor and Legislature presiding over the ashes.

But you don’t have to take our word for it:

“In today’s newspaper, we saw an article that GVB received an award in Beijing for being one of the top five safest places for women to travel. That doesn’t just happen. It’s because we put money into the Tumon station, we put money into other areas. … Without the money we aren’t able to do that. If we can’t provide for GPD, Parks & Rec for their maintenance people, and for security we wouldn’t have that distinction of being the top 5 in the world with Portugal and Sri Lanka. So we need to fund other parts of the government … provide for safety (which) is a priority for tourists and our local citizenry.”
— Speaker BJ Cruz, 34th Guam Legislature, responding to Sen. Lee


One of the Legislature’s two jobs is passing a budget. Contact the Senators today and tell them that the Legislature needs to pass a responsible budget.

Speaker BJ Cruz: 477-2520/1;
Vice Speaker Therese Terlaje: 472-3586;
Sen. Regine Biscoe Lee: 472-3455;
Sen. Thomas Ada: 473-3301/02;
Sen. Joe S. San Agustin: 989-5445;
Sen. Telena Cruz Nelson: 989-4678;
Sen. Michael F.Q. San Nicolas: 472-6453;
Sen. Dennis G. Rodriguez, Jr.: 649-8638/0511;
Sen. Frank B. Aguon: 475-4861/2;
Sen. James Espaldon: 475-4546;
Sen. Tommy Morrison: 478-8669;
Sen. Mary Torres: 475-6279;
Sen. Louise B. Muna: 969-9852/9853;
Sen. Wil Castro: 969-1225/6;
Sen. Fernando B. Esteves: 969-3376;

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