SAIPAN REP. WANTS MORE FROM GARMENT INDUSTRY

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Jan. 7) - Representative Stanley T. Torres, R-Saipan and chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, says that as commonwealth government employees face hourly wage cuts and the Babauta administration has finally called for a cut in the size of government, the local garment industry should face the music and get ready to pay an increased user fee.

"For all the talk about generating additional revenues, there aren’t many examples so far," Torres said. "I have no doubt the community supports this and it’s time for everyone else to get in line."

That opportunity may arise soon, since the House is expected to take up the 1.3 percent proposed increase in the garment user’s fee as soon as today.

Torres said previous efforts to institute the increase have been beaten back by fierce lobbying by industry representatives as well as behind the scenes opposition by the Babauta administration.

"I hope that (Babauta) will be solidly behind this," Torres said. "Based on what he said during the campaign and his statements about the garment industry since, we expected that he would support at least this small increase."

January 7, 2003

For additional reports from the Marianas Variety, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/ Marianas Variety.

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