Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that the American Samoa Government will receive $20.4 million from the U.S. Department of Treasury to be paid out to qualifying residents as part of the Economic Stimulus Package that was signed into law to jumpstart the economy.
Faleomavaega and Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo urged the Leadership of the House and Senate to include the Territories in the stimulus package and make child tax credits and tax rebates available to qualifying residents. The Members were successful in their efforts and, prior to the bill being signed into law, in a letter dated January 29, 2008, Faleomavaega informed Governor Togiola and the Fono that, for American Samoa, the U.S. Treasury would send a check of an estimated amount and ASG must have a plan approved promptly to disburse the money quickly.
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 also 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.
“Today, Secretary Paulson has honored our request and I thank him for informing my office that he has accepted ASG’s plan for distributing stimulus payments to residents of American Samoa, and that ASG will receive a check for $20.4 million in order to payout tax rebates and child tax credits to those who qualify,” Faleomavaega said. “This payment is in accordance of the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 that was signed by the President on February 13, 2008.”
“The stimulus package was easily passed by both the House and Senate and I, again, thank Chairman Charles Rangel of the House Committee on Ways and Means and Chairman Max Baucus of the Senate Finance Committee for supporting our request to include the territories in the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008.”
“I also commend Governor Togiola and our local Tax Office for acting quickly and submitting a plan that has been approved by the U.S. Treasury. I am especially pleased that the people of American Samoa will benefit from these rebates which will help bolster our local economy,” Faleomavaega concluded.
The full text of Secretary Paulson’s letter of April 28 informing Governor Togiola of the approval of ASG’s Distribution Plan was forwarded to Faleomavaega’s office by the U.S. Department of Treasury and is included below.
Dear Governor Tulafono:
Thank you for your letter of April 23, 2008, submitting the Distribution Plan for the Recovery Rebates (the Plan) in American Samoa. The Economic Stimulus Act of 2008, P.L. 110-185 (the Act), requires that I approve American Samoa’s plan for distributing stimulus payments to residents of American Samoa. The Act also requires that once such a plan is approved, the Treasury Department make a payment to American Samoa in an amount estimated as being equal to the aggregate benefits that would have been provided to residents of American Samoa by reason of the amendments made to the Internal Revenue Code by section 101(c) of the Act if a “mirror code” tax system had been in effect in American Samoa.
In accordance with the Act, I approve the Plan, a copy of which is enclosed. Also, we have estimated the aggregate benefits that would have been provided to residents of American Samoa by reason of section 101(c) of the Act if a mirror code tax system had been in effect in American Samoa at $20.4 million. A payment in this amount will be made by the Treasury Department to American Samoa to fund the prompt distribution of stimulus payments to resident of American Samoa pursuant to the Plan.
Henry M. Paulson, Jr.