Chairman of the Revenue Task Force, Attorney General Eleasalo Talauega Ale, has apologized to members of the House Ways and Means Committee for mistakes identified with one of the administration’s revenue measures.
The mistakes led lawmakers to postpone a vote on the 7% sales tax bill until corrections are made.
In the absence of the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Lavea Legaee Mauga, the chairman of the Budget and Appropriations Committee, Vailiuama Steve Leasiolagi chaired this morning’s hearing.
Talauega informed committee members that the legal counsel for the House has been handed several changes to the bill to make it more appealing
Rep. Vailoata Amituana’i, questioned where the changes come from suggested that they be given copies of the actual bill with the changes .
Chairman Vailiuama said that the changes are easy.
The Revenue Task Force can work together with the House Ways and Means committee to make changes that the task force requested .
Talauega admitted rushing into writing the bill that they failed to detect some of the mistakes in the legislation.
He does not want the bill to end back at the Governor ‘s Office which would mean a whole new bill will have to be drafted.
He requested however to work with the House Legal Counsel and members of the Ways and Means Committee to fix the minor changes.
Amituana’i said that they should not be discussing the measure until these changes appear on the bill.
Rep. Vailiuama told the concerned faipule these are not major changes and they do not change the meaning and intent of the bill
Talauega appealed to the committee to hold onto the bill while they work together with the Legal Counsel to make the corrections.
Rep. Toeaina Faufano Autele said that he does not want to make a decision on anything that is incomplete and asked that the Revenue Task Force take the bill back to make the changes or he just might vote no .
Chairman Vailiuama said the next hearing on the sales tax bill matter will be set for next week after the needed changes are made.
Appearing with the Task Force Chairman were Treasurer, Ueligitone Tonumaipe’a, Budget Director, Catherine Saelua, Acting Chief Customs Officer, Keith Gebauer, Port Director, Tamailelagi Dr. Claire Poumele, executive Assistant to the Governor, Iulogologo J Pereira as well as the Governor’s Chief Legal Advisor, Steven Watson.