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U.S. Congress extends American Samoa’s Economic Development Tax Credit

The U.S. Congress has passed the “Omnibus”, long-term funding bill which finances government operations through the end of the fiscal year, next September.

Most importantly for American Samoa, after discussions between Congresswoman Aumua Amata and leadership in the House and Senate, the legislation extends the American Samoa Economic Development Tax Credit, which was targeted for expiration at the beginning of the year.

The American Samoa Economic Development Tax Credit provides a great incentive for U.S. corporations to invest in the island, and is one of the driving forces for future development.

Both chambers passed the second leg of the budget compromise, a US$1.1 trillion measure financing government, leaving Congress ready to adjourn until January.

The legislation also provides over US$22.7 million to fund American Samoa Government (ASG) operations through the end of the fiscal year, and an increase to many of the competitive grant programs that American Samoa is eligible for.

“I would like to thank the leadership for their wisdom for including an extension to this tax incentive that is so important to our island, and I appreciate them working with me,” said Amata.

“While there are others who would like to see this credit expire, I will continue to fight to ensure that it remains, and will do all I can to see that it is made permanent.  I will also continue to work to ensure that our island receives funding that is on par with its needs.  For far too long American Samoa has had to do more with less, however, it seems that things may be changing, as evident by the increase in education funding our island will see beginning in 2017,” concluded Amata.

The bill, which includes the tax extenders package, is a result of negotiations between leadership on both sides of the aisle, and includes expansions of the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit and the American Opportunity Tax Credit, all-important provisions to the island.  

Overall, the budget pact was a modest one with many on each side describing it as the best deal they could get under divided government. It was arguably most noteworthy for what it didn't include, such as GOP efforts to halt Planned Parenthood's federal money and Democratic pushes for stiffened gun curbs.

While some Democrats said it was an opportunity to make family tax breaks permanent, others complained it was too skewed toward business. They also said its price tag — exceeding $600 billion over a decade — would swell federal deficits and make money scarcer for domestic programmes the party treasures.


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