One of the things that strikes Guam residents during trips to the U.S. mainland is the realization that our island life costs us so much money in groceries, gasoline and utilities, among other daily expenses.
A trip stateside is a jolt — we pay nearly three times the cost of groceries on Guam and twice the cost of gasoline compared to what mainland residents shell out.
But we choose to live on Guam because a tropical, laid-back island is our preferred version of home. The drive time to work doesn't take hours of our day, we don't need layers of clothing in the winter time and we definitely don't like shoveling snow.
As a tradeoff, we deal with the high cost of consumer goods that are made outside of the island and then flown here in days or shipped in weeks.
Many of us resort to stocking up and buying dry goods and other household items that we purchase online. Shipping costs aside, many of our online purchases still make more dollar sense than buying on island for some items.
This is one way for us to cope with the high cost of goods on Guam. Senators, don't take this away from us.
We oppose recent legislation, Bill 166, introduced by Sen. Joe S. San Agustin, which would limit our ability to purchase goods off island – via the recent proposal to implement the existing 4% use tax on us consumers as our purchases come in through the mail.
We've been hit by multiple increases in taxes, fees and utility rates over the years. Economists may have different views of our island's economic future but they do agree that salaries and wages have not kept pace with the increasing cost of living, with the exception perhaps of a select segment of our community, including political appointees and managers in the government of Guam.
Senators, please hear Guam consumers, your constituents, and be sensitive to their struggles. This idea of imposing a use tax on personal purchases is bad, even with the exemption of up to $1,000 in a month or up to $5,000 in purchases a year.
Don't make it any tougher for island residents to afford to live on Guam.