AS THE number of Marines and their dependents who will be permanently stationed here on Guam has spiraled downward – from more than 18,000 initially to well under 5,000 now – concern has been expressed that the amount of federal income tax to be remitted to Guam under Section 30 of the Organic Act will decline.
The reason is that thousands of the Marines to be sent to Guam may simply be rotated through here, staying for less than six months at a time for training and R&R, and none of the taxes they pay on the money they earn while here would go into the Guam Treasury, because they won’t be here long enough. Six months is thought to be the cutoff for Section 30 money.
But the hit on the GovGuam Treasury may not be as bad as feared. Delegate Madeleine Bordallo, her staff, and Gov. Eddie Calvo and his top advisers are looking into the possibility that the six-month period for so-called TDY, or temporary duty personnel, to be here before their taxes can be returned to Guam can be changed administratively. There may not be a need to do it with legislation. Taxes on all the money earned by military personnel on Guam could come back.
There will probably need to be some timeframe – a month or two – but there is nothing fixed in law about that six months, which could mean many millions more in income for Guam. Income taxes paid by U.S. citizens and companies here are the primary source of funds to operate the government of Guam.
One of Gov. Calvo’s key people asked us to keep this information under our hat; but during discussions on K-57 Radio following Bordallo’s speech Tuesday, she and her assistants mentioned they are taking the administrative approach in their discussions with the Department of Defense. So the hat’s off. If they’re talking about it on the radio, we will write about it.
Gov. Calvo is in Washington for the next few days. He’ll be trying to pin down the latest number of Marines to be stationed on Guam. We mentioned the 2,500 figure we’re hearing, and he seemed pleased it is that many, saying some of the numbers he’s heard are as low as 500. But he and his advisers will also be investigating the possibility of assuring Section 30 money will come to Guam from the taxes paid by all troops here for temporary duty training, whether in the Marine Corps, the Air Force, or the Navy.
If that can be done administratively, it will be a huge accomplishment.