8 Dec 2008

American Samoan Government advised not to increas public tax burden

11:29 am on 8 December 2008

The Chairman of the House Budget and Appropriations Committee in American Samoa has advised government officials not to place another tax burden on the public.

Laolagi Fonoti Vaeao's advice was made during a hearing on a bill to increase taxes on imported water and juice.

The proceeds from the taxes were to go towards a 2007 court ruling which found the government liable for the Laufou shopping centre fire in 2004.

The American Samoan Governor, Togiola Tulafono, during the time of the ruling, agreed to pay the 6.6 million US dollars court judgment against the government.

Laolagi Fonoti Vaeao told the hearing instead of increasing taxes the government should use funds in off island bank accounts to pay the 6.6 million dollars.

Chairman Laolagi told Budget Director Magalei Logovii and Treasurer Gaea Failautusi that the administration should use a portion of the 9.4 million dollar in the American Samoa government bank acocunts in New York to pay the ruling.

He said this is the quickest and least burdensome solution.