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Supplemental budget covers fiscal overspending

By Fili Sagapolutele PAGO PAGO, American Samoa, (Samoa News, Oct. 3, 2010) - The American Samoa administration’s US$4.5 million supplemental appropriation to cover overruns for fiscal year 2010 - which ended on Sept. 30 - has been approved by the Fono through a House endorsement of the Senate version of the legislation.

But getting the House approval didn't come easy during the Saturday session when the bill was presented for third and final reading but didn't get the required votes to pass it and therefore was defeated. However, a motion was quickly introduced for reconsideration and it was approved.

This followed another motion for the House to forgo its rules and for the measure to be brought back on the floor the same day for another vote, which was approved. (The House needed to act quickly on the bill as the government is already into the new fiscal year.) The House then went into a brief recess while lawmakers met to discuss the bill and when the session resumed, the bill was approved.

(When a motion for reconsideration of a measure is approved, the bill normally is not brought back for another day or more for a new vote. This however, can be waived, if the House approves a motion to bring back the bill or resolution on the same day it was defeated. )

According to a government financial report distributed to House members more than a week ago, actual collections as of Sept. 22 stand at US$83.12 million while US$80.61 million was budgeted for FY 2010. The government predicted that by the end of FY 2010, US$89.15 million will be collected, which is US$8.54 million more than projected for FY 2010.

Expenditures, as of Sept. 22 stand at US$84.25 million and by the end of the fiscal year, it’s estimated they will be US$85.62 million with an overrun of US$5 million, the report states.

It also shows that as of Sept. 22, the Treasury Department collected US$51.44 million in taxes with the highest collection for individual taxes at US$19.2 million, followed by excise tax at US$18.3 million and corporate tax at US$10.6 million.

The supplemental bill now goes back to the Senate to be enrolled in the Fono journal before it’s sent to the governor's office.

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