HAGÅTÑA (The Guam Daily Post) – Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero signed into law Bill 295-36, the six-month moratorium on fuel surcharges and most liquid fuel taxes. Lawmakers passed the measure last week during the emergency session on several bills aimed at tackling rising fuel prices in Guam.
The bill would suspend the 14-cent-per-gallon tax on diesel fuel and the 15-cent-per-gallon tax on gasoline for six months, but not the tax on jet fuel.
Now known as Public Law 36-105, the legislation could mean savings of up to 75 cents for a motorist who buys 5 gallons of gasoline and up to $1.50 for a 10 gallon purchase – if the tax reduction is directly passed on to consumers. . The tax reduction will apply to wholesalers.
“Our island is certainly not alone in feeling the financial pressure of rising fuel costs – the country and the world share this struggle. And it is true that the cost of fuel is expected to rise further in the months to come” , Leon Guerrero stated in his letter signing the bill.
“While national efforts are underway to stabilize gas prices, we need to do what we can locally to ease the pressure our community is facing. This means looking at the ways our government is helping at the price at the pump.
Liquid fuel taxes and surcharges go to the Guam Highway Fund, which is used to repair village roads and streets.
To compensate for funding losses resulting from tax cuts, the new law suspending gasoline and diesel taxes allocates funds from the General Fund.
It was the governor’s favored measure of several discussed during the recent emergency session of senators, and the only one to pass the Legislative Assembly.
Others have failed, been ignored or sent back to committee level to undergo public hearings. A measure to repeal the same fuel taxes and surcharges was discussed and amended in the emergency session, but failed to garner enough votes to pass.
Almost all the measures are fiscal in nature. However, one proposes to cap fuel prices in Guam: Bill 320-36.
An amendment added to Public Law 36-105, while senators were debating it, was a provision that would require persons or companies involved in the wholesale or retail sale of automotive fuel products to report “under penalty of perjury.” that the tax and surcharge relief was not collected from consumers. This declaration must be submitted monthly for the duration of the moratorium.
“While there is still work to be done to achieve a comprehensive long-term solution to the rising cost of fuel, including a more meaningful transition to lifestyles less dependent on fossil fuels, every effort, however incremental, can help those in our community who need it today,” the governor said. “For these reasons, I am signing Bill 295-36 as Public Law 36-105.”