Congressman Faleomavaega announced that on November 4, 2003 the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed H.R. 982, a bill he introduced to provide the American Samoa Government with the authority to issue bonds exempt from state and federal taxation.
“I would like to thank Chairman Pombo and Ranking Member Rahall of the Resources Committee and Chairman Sensenbrenner and Ranking Member Conyers of the Judiciary Committee for their continued support regarding the needs of American Samoa and for their efforts to bring H.R. 982 to the Floor,” Congressman Faleomavaega said. “H.R. 982 would amend the U.S. Code to allow interest earned from American Samoa bonds to be exempt from both state and local taxation.”
“Under the U.S. Code, Congress has expressly provided for the exemption of state and local taxes for bonds issued by Guam, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands. While American Samoa can issue bonds similar to the other territories, the interest earned from American Samoa bonds is subject to taxation by the several States, Washington, D.C. and the other territories. H.R. 982 would provide parity to American Samoa.”
“H.R. 982 will also make American Samoa bonds more attractive to investors and could save the American Samoa Government between $20,000 and $50,000 a year in interest costs on municipal bonds it may issue,” the Congressman said. “The American Samoa Power Authority has indicated that it would like to sell bonds to purchase new diesel generator sets to accommodate our growing population. This legislation would lower the interest costs of the prospective sales and will also enable the government to address deficiencies in its current infrastructure.”
“This legislation is identical to H.R. 1448 which I introduced in the 107th Congress. H.R. 1448 was adopted by the Judiciary and Resources Committees and was finally agreed to by voice vote on the House Floor on September 24, 2002. Unfortunately, the Senate was unable to consider this legislation before the 107th Congress adjourned.”
“However, the Judiciary and Resources Committees once again supported American Samoa’s interests by unanimously passing H.R. 982 in the 108th Congress and I am thankful that my friends, both Republican and Democrat, also voted in favor of H.R. 982 when this matter was brought to the Floor for consideration. This legislation is beneficial and critical to the needs of American Samoa and in due time will help us build and strengthen our local economy.”
“At this time, I also want to thank Governor Togiola for his support and I look forward to working with my friends in the U.S. Senate to make sure that this legislation is passed before the 108th Congress adjourns next year,” the Congressman concluded.