Is American Samoa heading towards financial suicide?
Prominent local businessman, Tom Drabble, believes so and says passing the government’s requested revenue measures is a clear mandate to the administration to waste even more tax-payer money
In a letter to Talanei and Samoa News, Drabble says that American Samoa now has what he labels a two-class society.
The owner of Transpac Corporation, Sadie Thompson Inn and Sadies by the Sea wrote, “This is forced on us by our inability to diversify our economy. On the one hand, our major industry (Canneries) are competing with countries whose wage structure is far less than ours while on the other hand, we have an administration which supports mostly US mainland pay scales. Thus, we have “WORKERS” earning $5 to $8 per hour whilst “ADMINISTRATORS” earn $25 per hour and more.”
He also points out that it is freely admitted that the Administration employs far more people than is needed, supported by the Governor’s policy of ASG employing as many people as possible. The problem is that most of these jobs are non-productive.
And, other than grant programs, most of these jobs must be supported by local revenue, he added.
Drabble says American Samoa faces a double edged sword where insufficient revenues to support a bloated ADMINISTRATION is facing an extremely poor WORKER base to supply those revenues.
He wrote that the governments Revenue Task Force has addressed ONLY the means to raise revenue, with no thought or mention of controlling the runaway costs of the administration.
“This is ridiculous and totally unacceptable and should be soundly rejected until cost and ASG employment practices are brought under control,” he wrote.
Drabble believes that Senator Magalei Logovi’i is absolutely correct in asking to review all budgets before considering new revenue measures.
He says that some of these revenue issues do have some merit, but far more work needs to be done and that our workers deserve more than this.
“Unfortunately, we have a Fono with something over 200 people on the payroll and a Governor’s Office also with far too many highly-paid personnel, all depending on local revenue to meet payroll.”