Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that he and Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo of Guam have joined together in urging the Leadership of both Houses to include the territories in the bi-partisan economic stimulus package being put forward to bolster the U.S. economy. Faleomavaega and Ms. Bordallo have also asked that language be included to make sure that the local territorial treasuries and governments are not impacted by the inclusion.
“In response to the agreement reached yesterday by the White House and
Majority House leadership to move forward with a bi-partisan economic stimulus agreement for individuals and businesses, it is our understanding that the agreement for individuals would include an income tax rebate and a child credit increase,” Faleomavaega said. “It is also our understanding that rules for making the tax rebates and child credits available to residents of the territories have not been clarified.”
“Given that from 48% to 60% of our populations live below the poverty level and our per capita incomes are well below the national average, Congresswoman Bordallo and I have respectfully requested that the leadership support making these rebates and credits available for our residents without our local treasuries being responsible for the pay out. Specifically, in order to protect the budgets of our local governments, we are hopeful that the Leadership will include language requiring the U.S. Treasury to either directly pay or reimburse mirror code jurisdictions. Anything less will be harmful to our economies.”
“As it now stands, our local tax codes mirror the U.S. tax code meaning that unless provisions are included stating otherwise, our local governments would be responsible for paying out any tax rebates and child credits owed. This could be devastating to our local economies since our local governments do not have the funds to pay out these rebates and credits. This is why we’ve asked for language to be included directing the U.S. Treasury, rather than our local governments, to pay out or reimburse any refunds our residents may be owed. In our view, the money should come from the national treasury not our local treasuries.”
“In letters dated January 25, 2008, Congresswoman Bordallo and I made our case to Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Chairman Charles Rangel of the House Ways and Means Committee, and Chairman Max Baucus and Ranking Member Charles Grassley of the Senate Finance Committee. We are hopeful that as a result of our efforts our request will be supported and that the economic stimulus package will also assist our families and residents in the territories,” Faleomavaega concluded.