By David J. John, Chairman and managing director of ASC Trust LLC
If one used the island’s Gross Receipts Tax receipts over the last couple of years as the only measurement to judge how the economy is doing, one would be forgiven for thinking Guam’s economy was on fire.
GRT is a 5% Gross Receipts Tax paid by businesses on most transactions on the island, which grew from $296,518,767 in 2020 to $323,792,627 in 2022, a 9% increase. Additionally, the federal government has provided the local government more than $2 billion in funds to help keep the economy going since the start of COVID. Between the two, the government of Guam’s finances are the best they have been in decades.
However, while GRT is up, the increase is not evenly weighted throughout the economy, with most of the GRT gains coming from military construction projects. The good news is military spending should stay elevated to approximately $2 billion a year for the next eight to 10 years, with that number most likely increasing with some of the additional projects being discussed in the region.
Looking at the broader metrics of the economy to encompass tourism, employment, and inflation, the view is a much different result. This is not to say I am not bullish on Guam. I believe we have some incredible opportunities coming to our shores which I will also discuss. Lastly, with such a turbulent market for retirement accounts, Maureen (Maratita, publisher of Guam Business Magazine) asked me to provide my top line views on where the markets are headed over the next couple of quarters. Let’s go over each of these topics.
Read the entire piece here.