Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that he is providing an update regarding American Samoa’s 30A tax credit which is one item caught up in a bigger tax bill now being debated nationally.
“Previously, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 4213, the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act and included my provision to convert 30A tax credits to a direct payment of $18 million to ASG.”
“The purpose of the $18 million payment was to provide assistance to StarKist, which at the time, was the only remaining tuna cannery in the Territory. According to the GAO, Star Kist was operating at a $17 million dollar per year loss when compared to companies like Bumble Bee and Chicken of the Sea which outsource American jobs and exploit cheap labor in foreign countries by paying fish cleaners far below what they are paid in American Samoa,” Faleomavaega said.
“Since the passage of H.R. 4213 by the House, two developments have occurred. One, Tri-Marine decided to do business in American Samoa and, two, the Senate modified the House tax bill. Although the Senate kept my request for an $18 million direct payment in its version of the tax bill, the Senate did not vote on the bill prior to mid-term elections.”
“As a result of the mid-term elections, President Obama began negotiating directly with the Republicans about a tax compromise, with little Democratic input. The bill, known as H.R. 4853, has an estimated cost of $858 billion over two years which would be added to the deficit.”
“Also at issue is who should get tax cuts. Many argue that in today’s economy, everyone should get a tax cut. Either way, American Samoa’s small provision is caught up in this larger debate and, because of this and given there was uncertainty about how the $18 million would be spent, I accepted the best deal we can get right now which is to extend 30A for an additional two years and work in the 112th Congress to modify it so that it works for both StarKist and Tri-Marine and any other business that wants to operate in American Samoa.”
“The original intent of 30A was to provide incentives to companies to invest in the insular areas and I believe with the support of both Republicans and Democrats we can revise 30A and make it work like it was initially meant to work. So, if the House and Senate agree to compromise on the larger tax bill which was passed yesterday by the Senate, then American Samoa will have a marker in place for 30A tax credits and we will move forward and build upon this.”
“The House is still debating whether or not it will accept the Senate tax bill but it is most likely that the House will amend it in some way. I will keep our people updated as this matter progresses and, as always, I thank our people for their support and prayers,” Faleomavaega concluded.