10 Apr 2012

Amended bill to hike alcohol and cigarette tax in American Samoa now goes to Senate

1:37 pm on 10 April 2012

Proposals to substantially increase the tax on alcohol and cigarettes in American Samoa have moved another step forward.

An amended bill has passed its final stage in the territory's House of Representatives including proposals to increase the tax on beer and alcohol to 240 percent and a rise to 15 cents per cigarette.

About 2.4 million dollars is expected to be generated from the rise and the money would be earmarked for healthcare.

Our correspondent in Pago Pago Monica Miller says the Governor Togiola Tulafono has scotched criticism from importers who fear they will be forced to lay off workers.

"One of the things that the Governor mentioned is that the companies that import these products have to also be concerned with the ill effects of beer, alcohol and cigarettes and that this has been found to be a major contributor to escalating health costs."

Monica Miller says the bill which also includes increases in business licensing fees now goes to the Senate for debate.