“A FUNDAMENTAL REALITY OF THE REVENUE PROPOSALS”

Dear Editor, 

A fundamental reality of the revenue proposals being proposed by the Lolo administration is that they are DESIGNED and INTENDED to raise an extra, additional $25 million for ASG in 2020 compared to the money that would be raised if the proposals were not enacted.  

They are not a revenue-neutral package addressing the shortcomings of our existing taxes (see postscript below). They are a revenue enhancing package, because ASG officials say that ASG simply doesn't raise enough money to pay for the government's current level of spending. 

The extra funds from the proposed revenue proposals are intended to close that gap, not increase government capabilities.

If enacted, the proposals will require the average household to pay an extra $2,000 of their combined pretax household income to ASG, either directly (e.g., sales tax) or indirectly (passed along higher fees paid by businesses). 

For the average household (there are 12,000 households), that's about $6 a day, or $40 a week or $170 a month. 

The average household in American Samoa will be about 10% poorer and the government will be the beneficiary. And because of the way the proposals are structured, with a heavy emphasis on a general sales tax with no exemption for food items, it is a fact that low income households will be much more severely impacted than high income households.

Do you, the people of American Samoa, think shifting an extra $2,000 per year per household from their wallets to the ASG is the best way to address the imbalance that presently exists between government income and government spending?

Talk to your Faipule and Senator; they are the ones who will decide the fate of these proposals. 

Regards,

LEWIS WOLMAN

P.S. Some aspects of the proposals are long overdue. For example, the 2% wage tax was very unfair from Day One and should have long been abolished long ago! Many, many people never had to pay it since they didn't work as an employee for a business that did payroll in a legal fashion, and once the unfair taxes were collected from those subject to it, the government did not use the taxes in the proper fashion (to support LBJ) and diverted the money to other uses (use your imagination, or just read the newspaper/listen to the radio.) 

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