By Johnnie Rosario
(Tumon, Guam) Sen. Jim Moylan is introducing a bill in the Guam Legislature to reduce the liquid fuel tax, which may lead to a further reduction in the price of gas.
At least one county in the nation recently reported the price of a gallon of gas at the pumps below $1. Guam's gas prices have somewhat dropped, but still hover above $3 a gallon.
The following is Mr. Moylan's news release on the matter; his draft legislation is below:
As island residents continue to comply with this partial lockdown created by the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing is certain, because of the uncertainties that we are being faced with, our government needs to not only continue to seek federal support for our families, but also provide whatever relief efforts are available locally for island residents as we all weather this economic and public health storm together.
One such concern is the costs at the fuel pumps, which is why Senator James “Jim” Moylan will be filing legislation this afternoon to provide a temporary reduction of the Liquid Fuel Tax (LFT) for six months, to duplicate the rates levied prior to 2018.
While there are discussions with the Consolidated Commission of Utilities (CCU) to recommend rate reductions associated with fuel recovery costs, this legislation would add a direct savings at the gas pumps. The measure provides a similar 6-month reduction timeline as Bill 311-35, which is another relief effort introduced by Senator Moylan two weeks ago, and that one was focused on the Business Privilege Tax (BPT) Reduction and helping businesses and their employees with some sustainability.
Senator Moylan also introduced Bill 10-35 on January 7, 2019, Inauguration Day for the 35th Guam Legislature. That proposal was to provide a permanent reduction of the LFT. He now intends on tabling that measure to focus on this new legislation which would provide a much- needed balance at this time.
Opponents of the original measure were concerned by the nearly $2 million that the LFT reduction would have taken away from road maintenance projects. To which Senator Moylan has reiterated that “The issue is not how much in new revenue the tax increase is generating, but how the Territorial Highway Fund is being expended right now as it encumbers many non- road repair related expenditures’, and needs to be right sized to ensure that its primary objectives are met.”.
Senator Moylan added, “As we await potential federal funding to address issues such as mortgages, unemployment, and even financial relief into our community’s pockets, it is critical that we start looking at common necessities such as fuel, and finding ways to help make things more affordable for our families. This measure is one such approach, but still much more needs to be done, as we are all facing and will eventually emerge from this economic coma together.”.
While the Guam Legislature continues to comply with the partial lockdown, there are efforts being considered in allowing sessions to proceed while assuring members of the legislative branch are protected and that social distancing is practiced. If this proceeds, Senator Moylan will request his colleagues to consider both this new measure and Bill 311-35 as emergencies, and to be place on the agenda.