4 Jan 2011

American Samoa representative suggests cutting directors' salaries

11:46 am on 4 January 2011

A Representative in American Samoa's government, Galumalemana Bill Satele, is advocating money saving ways other than cutting the wages of government employees.

He said at a news conference that cutting the payroll should be a last resort.

Galumalemana suspects that the cash flow problem is the result of the government's high risk status with federal grantors.

He believes the government is being forced to spend local funds to cover expenditures that should be paid with federal grants, and then seek reimbursement.

Galumalemana would like to save funds by eliminating off island travel for department directors and a reversal of their salary increases:

"I would like to see the seventy thousand increase in all directors' (salaries) be rolled back. If they were making fifty before, make them all go back to fifity. As you know most of them make 70 now, except for maybe the small offices, I'd like to see that rolled back. I'd like to see them give up their vehicles."

Representative Galumalemana Bill Satele, says local revenue could be shored up through moves such as raising the registration fee for vehicles to US$200, increasing the minimum income tax from 4 to 6%, and hiking the cost of a business license for big companies.