Congressman Faleomavaega today announced that he and his colleagues in Congress representing American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have requested the U.S. Department of Treasury to advance payments due under the economic stimulus package law to the U.S. Territories. On February 13, 2008, President Bush signed into law the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 intended to give a boost to the U.S. economy and stave off a recession by providing tax rebates to families and job creating incentives to businesses.
In a joint letter dated February 15, 2008 to Secretary Henry M. Paulson of the Department of Treasury, Faleomavaega along with Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo, Congresswoman Donna Christensen, and Resident Commissioner Luis Fortuno urged the Secretary to implement an arrangement that will provide for the funds to be transferred in advance of the actual payouts of the rebates.
“As representatives of our respective territories, we understand our economic conditions and the difficulty our local governments will face in meeting the terms of the law,” Faleomavaega said. “So, we are simply requesting Secretary Paulson to hold harmless the territorial treasuries by advancing the rebate amounts and covered over so there would not be any delay in getting the money to the hands of the people who really need it.”
“The law requires an estimate of the payouts and then payment to occur. For American Samoa, the total payout is estimated to be about $10 to $15 million. So, we have requested Secretary Paulson if there are any differences, that they be reconciled subsequent to the payments.”
“I am encouraged by the initial communications that have occurred between our local tax office and the Department of Treasury in preparation for implementing the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008. And, I am hopeful that Secretary Paulson will respond favorably to our request so American Samoa can receive this much needed help in a timely manner.”
“Once again, I am grateful for the bipartisan support we received in the House as well as in the Senate on this important matter. I thank the Democratic Leadership, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Chairman Charles Rangel of the House Committee on Ways and Means, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and Chairman Max Baucus of the Senate Finance Committee, for taking our country in a new direction. I also thank all those who voted in favor of including the territories in the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008. But, most of all, I am thankful that the people of American Samoa will benefit from this law which is necessary to bolster our local and national economies,” Faleomavaega concluded.