Revenue Task Force Sent Back to the Drawing Board

The Chairman of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, Senator Magalei Logovi’i, sent the ASG Revenue Task Force back to fix two revenue measures that were the subject of a Committee hearing this morning.

These were the bills to establish a 7% sales tax and a bill to remove the 5% excise tax and amend the tax on beer and non carbonated sugary drinks.

The Chairman of the Revenue Task Force, Attorney General-Talauega Eleasalo Ale, Treasurer-Ueligitone Tonumaipe’a, Budget Director-Catherine Saelua, Deputy Treasurer-Keith Gebauer and Tax Office Manager-Toleafoa Vaaimamao Poufa, were the witnesses.

After the first few questions by Chairman Magalei and Vice Chairman, Senator Tuaolo Manaia Fruean, Tonumaipe’a said that they were there for the 7% Sales Tax bill.

The Treasurer told Vice Chairman Tuaolo Manaia Fruean, who had two different cans of beer in front of him during the hearing, that they were not there for the bill to remove the 5% excise tax but for the 7% sales tax bill.

The excise tax bill includes a change in the computation of the tax on beer.

Senator Tuaolo, sensing that the Task Force wasn’t quite prepared, advised that they do their best to answer senators’ questions.

Committee Chairman Magalei said that it makes no difference what the Task Force was asked to prepare for this hearing.

All of the administration’s proposed revenue bills, came from the same Task Force and he was under the assumption that the members had answers whether the questions dealth with the excise tax or the sales tax bill.

Magalei explained he had decided to discuss the two measures together as they correlate in the Task Force’s plans to repeal some existing taxes.

The former Treasurer said from his study of the bill, the 7% sales tax and the 5% excise tax would both be in effect for a period of time before one would be removed.

Task Force Chairman Talauega apologized to the committee for not being prepared and said perhaps because several people were involved in drafting the legislation some important points are missing.

He asked that they be given the chance to make corrections and amendments before they return to answer senators’ questions.

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