On Sept. 29 a release from the Office of the Governor of Guam reported on findings of the Governor’s Youth Advisory Council – which commendably surveyed more than 1,350 students.

The survey said among its findings that “87.1% of students preferred face-to-face learning compared to 12.9% who preferred online learning.”

Also, “86.6% of students expressed willingness to get vaccinated to attend in-person learning compared to the 13.4% who expressed unwillingness.”

And “78.5% expressed that upperclassmen should be given priority for in-person learning compared to 21.5% who disagreed.”

Gov. Lourdes A. Leon Guerrero said in the release, “When [Lt. Governor Joshua F. Tenorio] and I created the Governor’s Youth Advisory Council, we did so to ensure that we heard their voices on youth-centric issues.”

Readers may painfully remember how the Guam Visitors Bureau repeatedly urged businesses to re-open and prepare for the return of tourists and Operation Liberate Guam as the island approached its vaccination of 80% of the population.

A number listened.

The Guam Chamber of Commerce – not for the first time called in mid-September for the return of Guam’s Business Privilege Tax, formerly GRT from 5% to 4%.

 “The Gross Receipts Tax increase implemented in 2018 was supposed to be a temporary measure to ensure government operations were not compromised due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017,” the chamber said.

Sen. Mary C. Torre has authored a bill that received bipartisan support that would permanently increase the revenue threshold, or the figure of gross receipts eligible for 3% BPT, and that will likely receive business support too.

GEDA’s grant program was allocated $27.3 million – a drop in the ocean for what our businesses have lost.

Although the Government of Guam’s fiscal budget lapsed into law, the administration still has not released a comprehensive spending plan for the federal funding it has received.

It’s time to not only listen to the business community, but to act.

Grants are wonderful, but with Guam’s current restrictions, and the pandemic set to keep tourism stifled until 2023, we need a wise long term approach businesses can depend on, not another grant program. mbj