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Governor lets retirement fund bill die — no funding source and rates too high

Gov. Lemanu Peleti Mauga

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Gov. Lemanu Peleti Mauga did not sign a bill that the Fono passed in their last session. He cited that the lack of a funding source, and in addition the proposed contribution rates were too high. He mentioned these two reasons in a letter to Fono leaders, dated November 8, 2021.

The House of Representative received Lemanu’s letter this week.

The Senate bill called for an increase in contributions from members of the American Samoa Government Employees Retirement Fund by 2% and that of the American Samoa Government by 3 % to the pension fund.

Lemanu informed Fono leaders that after reviewing the bill he has decided not to sign it within 30 days, which means that it shall not become law.

He said the bill does not identify a funding source for the increase in the Government contribution. The increases to the Government and Employee contributions are too high. “I recommend a 1% increase for both the government and Members. Furthermore, I also recommend that the increase in contributions be prorated for a period of 3 years,” he wrote.

Gov. Lemanu informed the Senate President and House Speaker he intends to propose an alternative bill and work with them and Fono members “to create legislation that is in the best interest of our people.”