24 Sep 2012

American Samoa Governor torpedoes plans to pay two outstanding court judgements

6:49 pm on 24 September 2012

The American Samoa Governor Togiola Tulafono has vetoed two appropriation bills from the Fono intened to pay for two court judgments against his Government.

These are the judgments in favor of a breach of contract with a constructions firm and for injuries suffered by a student struck by a vehicle driven by a government employee 11 years ago.

The legislature changed the funding source for the two bills that the govenror had unsuccessfully proposed: higher business licence fees, a new corporate franchise tax and increases in the excise tax for beer, alcohol and cigarettes.

The lawmakers intended paying the money from the Tobacco Master Settlement agreement.

But Togiola says the notion unbudgeted revenues from the Tobacco agreement exist is a fiction and thus both bills lack a viable funding source.

He said without an actual funding source the government cannot pay the two judgments.