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“ASG TREASURER WON’T WAIVE EXCISE TAX …”

Dear Editor,
 
Well I’m really confused by that; first, if the law doesn’t apply to the local fleet according the Attorney General then there is nothing to waive.  Second, even if the law did apply, contrary to the opinion of the Attorney General, where is it written that the Treasurer has the authority to waive or suspend any law. Within the Executive branch that authority rests solely with the Governor and cannot be delegated.
 
If I were the longliners, I would file with the local court of jurisdiction a request to enjoin ASG from any further collection of the excise tax on the local fleet and file a suit against ASG to recover previously unlawfully collected excise taxes to the extent possible.
 
The treasurer cites that he wants to continue to collect the excise tax because there is no way to prove that the catches are from the American Samoa’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). As I see it that is the problem of the department of revenue not the owners. With regard to the origin of the catch, the longliner captains should merely have to certify on their catch reports that the fish were caught within the EEZ. ASG might request ships’ logs and position reports for verification where there is reason to believe the reports are inaccurate.
 
When submitting Customs and other reports to government agencies the general norm is to accept the certification unless the government agency has verifiable information to the contrary. The burden of proof is on the government.
 
The role of government in a free society is to support, encourage facilitate development of private economic activity — not to suppress it.
 
 Jim Mahoney



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