“REALITY CHECK”

Dear Editor,

Let's face it… with a population of approximately 55,000, we have a two-class society.

This is forced on us by our inability to diversify our economy. On the one hand, our major industry (canneries) are competing with countries whose wage structure is far less than ours; on the other hand, we have an Administration which supports mostly US mainland pay scales. Thus, we have "WORKERS" earning $5 to $8 per hour whilst "ADMINISTRATORS" earn $25 per hour and more.

It is freely admitted that the Administration employs far more people than is needed, supported by our Governor's policy of ASG employing as many people as possible. The problem is that most of these jobs are non-productive.  And, other than grant programs, most of these jobs must be supported by local revenue.

Thus was created the "REVENUE TASK FORCE".

So, we are faced with a double edged sword.. on the one hand, insufficient revenues to support a bloated ADMINISTRATION and on the other, an extremely poor WORKER base to supply those revenues.

The Revenue Task Force has addressed ONLY the means to raise revenue, with no thought or mention of controlling the runaway costs of the administration. This is ridiculous and totally unacceptable and should be soundly rejected until cost and ASG employment practices are brought under control.

Senator Magalei Logovi'i is absolutely correct in asking to review all budgets before considering new revenue measures.

To pass the requested revenue measures is a clear mandate to the Administration to waste even more tax-payer money.  This is guaranteed financial suicide for American Samoa.

This is not to say that some of these revenue issues do not have some merit, but far more work needs to be done.  Our workers deserve more than this.

Unfortunately, we have a Fono with over 200 people on the payroll and a Governor's Office also with far too many highly-paid personnel, all depending on local revenue to meet payroll. We have seen the ADMINISTRATION'S history... will the Fono simply rubber-stamp these requests or will they have the fortitude to do the right thing?

Tom Drabble

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