By the end of this week, Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero is expected to have signed into law the legislation that will increase the minimum wage.

The governor is confident that a tiered increase in the minimum wage will not result in the gloomy economic scenario certain employers have predicted.

“I think that with a minimum wage increase, they’re giving our people more buying power and, of course, businesses benefit from that,” the governor said.

The governor has until Oct. 18, which is this Friday, to sign the legislation into law. She said she would.

The first increase would take effect on March 1, 2020, raising the current minimum wage from $8.25 to $8.75 an hour.

The next 50-cent raise would take effect March 1, 2021, raising the minimum wage to $9.25 hourly. 

First hike will benefit about 3,460 workers

Boosting the minimum wage to $8.75 would slightly improve the take-home pay of about 3,460 workers, based on a survey the Guam Department of Labor conducted last year. These workers include servers at restaurants, janitors, hotel housekeeping staff, landscapers and entry-level retail sales associates whose families will see an extra $40 every two weeks if they work a full 80 hours.

With the minimum-wage earners getting a slight boost in pay, elected officials, particularly the senators and the governor, must find a way to help businesses pay for this extra cost in hopes the cost to consumers would somehow be cushioned.

GovGuam could roll back GRT

Just a few weeks back, one of the governor's financial managers estimated GovGuam would end up with a $27 million surplus by the end of fiscal 2019 budget year that ended last month.

It would be great if senators and the governor could agree to roll back the Gross Receipts Tax from 5% to 4% as a way to help even out the impact on employers and also help stir economic activity.

GovGuam needs to make its own sacrifice by rolling back the tax increase.

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