Treasurer says top priority is restoring hours

Maoputasi District Faipule, Rep. Ve’evalu Meauta Mageo drilled the Revenue Task Force regarding the 7% sales tax at a hearing this morning.

For starters, Rep. Veevalu asked how much the Task Force projected to raise from the sales tax.

Treasurer Ueligitone Tonumaipe’a seemed unprepared to give the answer that the Pago Pago faipule was looking for.

He said that the administration needs $10 million to operate on a monthly basis.

For the last several months, the administration has been unable to reach and collect this amount which has resulted to the deduction of hours.

He explained that the government has not been able to collect this amount, reaching only $6 – $8 million, and this is what led to the reduction in hours.

Tonumaipe’a did say that the Task Force estimates to raise $24 million a year from the sales tax.

He informed the hearing by the Budget and Appropriations Committee there are a lot of projects that the government is not able to carry out because of the current economic situation.

A top priority for passing the revenue measures is to lift the reduction in hours for those whose salaies are more than $30,000.

Rep. Tuumolimoli Moliga asked the Task Force whether ASG is able to meet these goals if the sales tax is dropped to a lower number.

Tonumaipe’a said ASG wont be able to meet its plans with a lower sales tax.

He said the Task Force came up with a 7% sales tax because it would raise the amount of money needed.

Rep. Toeaina Faufano Autele indicated that there are other avenues to collect revenues for government instead of imposing more taxes that consumers end up paying.

The Manu’a faipule suggested a property tax.