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Legislation to help small businesses fails due to one senator's miscomprehension of math & English

By Eric Rosario

The quote circled below is about Sen. Telo Taitague.

A proposal by Sen. Jim Moylan would have reduced the business privilege tax on small businesses from five percent to three percent, on the first $500,000 of gross annual income. The current law only allows the tax break on the first $250,000.

Ms. Taitague misread the language of the legislation (an amendment to Bill No. 74), and argued against it, believing that the new threshold was an increase in the qualifications for the tax break. Mr. Moylan tried to correct his colleague, and explained his point using math to help dumb down the conversation.

It didn't work. She still didn't understand the language of the bill; and despite corrections to her inaccurate position, she voted against the legislation anyway.

The legislation failed.

This is Sen. Taitague's second instance since senators began session Friday, where she was unable to grasp elementary-level mathematics in legislation senators have been debating. The senator on Friday was unable to accurately calculate that multiplying $100 by 105% equals $105. During debate on a bill by Sen. Amanda Shelton that would allow a woman-owned business to win a GovGuam bid by bidding 105 percent of the lowest bidder, Ms. Taitague exclaimed, "I did the math on this!" She wrongly claimed that 105% by $100 would equal $205. Ms. Shelton tried to correct her. Ms. Taitague, a Republican, disagreed with the laws of math and suggested the legislature's legal counsel step in to clarify what her iPhone calculator or a fourth-grade child could do.

Mr. Moylan's news release, which explains the matter in further detail, is below:

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