IT IS a fundamental principle of economics that government derives its revenues from the success of its people. The level of a government’s revenues is directly correlated to the economic success of the people in the community. The success of the people is tied to the level of success businesses in the community enjoy. Employees in both government and the private sector do not get paid a dime unless businesses sell products and services. The government does not receive tax revenue unless someone sells something. It is in the government’s best interest to do everything in its power to facilitate entrepreneurship, to minimize government regulation, and to be business-friendly.
GovGuam has made efforts in the past to make it easier to conduct business on Guam. An example is the One-Stop Center for business licenses. I believe, however, that more must be done to make Guam more business-friendly. We need to help businesses expand their payrolls by expanding their business. One impediment to this is the time and cost of navigating the government regulations that govern real estate development. I believe that we should put in place a mandatory review period for all government regulations that affect business. If a regulation is outdated, it should be repealed. If it needs updating, let’s change it. I’m all for protecting our environment, but I believe that environmental reviews and permitting for development projects should be done within a reasonable timeframe. Time spent waiting for the government to act is time that money is not being made and tax revenue not generated.
Another area where GovGuam can be made more business-friendly is in the area of motor vehicle registration. Automobile dealers don't get paid for a car sale until the vehicle registration and ownership documents are processed. Since all dealers incur a financing cost for flooring their car inventories, every day that the registration is delayed means greater costs to the dealer. These are costs that are passed on to consumers. I am working with the automobile dealers and the Department of Revenue and Taxation on legislation that will reduce the time it takes to issue the initial registration. Once this process is a reality, DRT can dedicate more resources to customer service for registration renewals.
Two weeks ago, I introduced Bill No. 438-31 that requires online posting of major government procurement solicitations. Businesses would not need to pay to see procurement specifications of the government of Guam's invitations for bids and requests for proposals. If enacted, the bill will be a win-win for everyone. GovGuam will be the beneficiary of lower prices through greater competition, and the businesses will benefit by not having to incur time and costs to see the specifications.
I'd like the Legislature to pass two other economic growth bills. Bill 276-31 provides incentives for new medical services. Guam exports tens of millions annually for healthcare services not available locally. Keeping this money in our economy benefits everyone. Bill 43-31 limits the cost of broadband Internet deployment to actual costs. Guam's distance to the rest of the United States makes Internet services more costly than the rest of the country. GovGuam shouldn't make a profit on Internet infrastructure. Guam can be the center of information technology for the Western Pacific rim if we keep government involvement to a minimum.
The growth of businesses is what provides us with a healthy economy. A healthy and diversified economy provides the means for better government services.
Sen. Tony Ada is a member of the 31st Guam Legislature where he serves as the Minority Whip. He can be reached via email at senatortonyada[at]guamlegislature.org.