3 Feb 2011

Public hearings in American Samoa look for solutions to financial crisis

4:21 pm on 3 February 2011

Public hearings are continuing on several tax bills in American Samoa as efforts to fix a major budget blowout continue.

Businesses, finance officers and the public are being invited to give feedback.

But the senate secretary, Leo'o Va'a Ma' says it's been frustrating trying to get a full picture of the state of the government's books, as Treasury hasn't provided them with all the necessary financial information.

He says several measures being considered by the Budget Appropriations Committee could reduce what he thinks is now a 9 million US dollar shortfall.

"So far the committee, the budget committee of the senate, is still continuing with the hearings on the two measures that it is to increase tax on wages of all people in the Territory, and the other issue is to increase or establish a corporate franchise tax."

American Samoa senate secretary, Leo'o Va'a Ma', says the corporate tax would be 2000 US dollars annually, to be paid when tax returns are due.

Another option being considered is an increase in business licence fees.