11 Apr 2012

American Samoa business denies threats over tax hike

3:31 pm on 11 April 2012

The Chairman of the American Samoa Chamber of Commerce David Robinson says the private sector is not making threats over plans for a big hike in excise taxes.

The territory's Governor Togiola Tulafono says employers may be trying to scare with threats of layoffs if taxes on alcohol and cigarettes go up.

Legislation which would see the tax on alcohol go up from 190 percent to 240 percent is now before the Senate

Mr Robinson says the economic situation is difficult enough already without additional taxes.

"The private sector is struggling and these added costs do nothing but make it more and more difficult for our businesses to maintain a level where they can continue to provide full employment and deal with these costs."

Mr Robinson says sales did not drop ten years ago when taxes went up because the economy was more buoyant at that time.