16 Feb 2010

Speculation in American Samoa of bottled water tax to pay for medical referrals

2:43 pm on 16 February 2010

American Samoa's Governor is proposing a new tax to fund the territory's off-island medical referral programme.

Governor Togiola Tulafono is urging the public to lobby for the bill's passage saying it will include protective measures to ensure patient safety and stop any favouritism in patients being sent off island.

The LBJ Medical Center's operations, which include sending people off island for treatment, have been hampered for the past two years due to a lack of funds.

Our correspondent in Pago Pago, Fili Sagapolutele, says the Fono will be the first to hear the specifics about the tax, though there's speculation it will include a tax on bottled drinks.

"He's been very secretive about this whole thing but there has been things being floating around in the community about taxing bottled water. But exactly what he is proposing we're just going to have to wait and see until it actually comes before lawmakers."