22 Jan 2004

American Samoa governor gives positive picture in State of Territory address

12:56 pm on 22 January 2004

Governor Togiola Tulafono's State of the Territory address has given an upbeat and positive picture of American Samoa's finances, the economy and the administration's achievements.

He contrasted this to the report given by his predecessor, the late Governor Tauese Sunia, when they first came to office in 1997, who gave a bleak outlook.

Governor Togiola said Fiscal Year 2003 was the second consecutive year in which the administration underspent its budget.

The approved budget for 2003 was 71.5 million US dollars, but only 71.1 million dollars was spent.

It was also a record year in collections with 73.8 million was raised local revenues, which resulted in a surplus of 2.7 million dollars at the end of the fiscal year.

However, the American Samoan government had to pay 1.3 million dollars in child tax credits under a High Court Order which left a surplus of only 1.4 million.

The Governor said he would be submitting legislation again to delete the federal child tax credit, something that Tauese had tried to do but was opposed by the Fono.

Meanwhile, a representative, Muavaefaatasi Ae Ae junior, says the rosy picture are mere numbers without an audit to verify their accuracy.