30 Mar 2011

American Samoa representative defends Fono's efforts to raise revenue

11:15 am on 30 March 2011

A House representative in American Samoa has defended the fono's efforts to raise revenue, after the territory's governor suggested public servants could be laid off if further income was not generated.

Governor Togiola Tulafono says if the fono fails to pass other revenue generating bills the government payroll cannot be sustained and workers are likely to lose jobs.

He says the fono took so long to approve an income tax increase, the amount raised will fall short of projections.

But Representative Larry Sanitoa says legislators are taking time to consider revenue measures as they're tough decisions to make.

"They're not easy, I mean this is a difficult economic time for American Samoa. Certainly why I think the committee and the house and the fono is taking time to seriously look at these revenue measures, especially when you're talking about increasing fees and taxes. It's a difficult thing to do when you're having an economic downturn."

Larry Sanitoa says the fono is waiting to see how much revenue the two percent withholding tax will generate, as it should help the government shortfall.