Torres, 3 other territorial governors call for separate title in US tax reform bill

CNMI Gov. Ralph Torres, Guam Gov. Edward Calvo, American Samoa Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga and U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Kenneth Mapp are seeking a unique status in developing tax reform proposals for territories.

In a letter to four members of the U.S. Congress, the governors asked that the territories be treated favorably compared to foreign jurisdictions when it comes to tax reform legislation.

The letter was addressed to Sen. Orrin Hatch, chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, Sen. Ron Wyden, ranking member of the committee, Congressman Kevin Brady, chairman of the Ways and Means, and its ranking member, Congressman Richard E. Neal.

The governors said federal tax policy plays a critical role in creating the climate to attract investment, generate sustainable economic growth and create jobs in the territories as well as on the U.S. mainland.

The governors said restrictive and ill-considered tax policies or a one-size-fits-all approach can also negatively impact economic growth and reduce job opportunities.

Federal tax policy, they added, “has been instrumental in developing manufacturing and knowledge-based industries and creating middle class economic in each of our territories over the last half century. However, it is also increasingly clear that restrictive and ill-considered tax policies or a one size fits all approach can also negatively impact the economic growth, reduce job opportunities and create fiscal instability for our governments. It is our fervent hope that the 115th Congress will consider the unique status and circumstances of the territories in developing its tax reform proposals.”

The governors added, “As the bipartisan Congressional Task Force on Puerto Rico so poignantly noted, Congress must continue to be mindful of the fact that Puerto Rico and the other territories are U.S. jurisdictions, home to U.S. citizens or nationals and that jobs in Puerto Rico and the other territories are American jobs.”

But because the territories “are generally considered foreign tax jurisdictions, it is essential that the U.S. income tax system treat the territories more favorably than foreign jurisdictions and include special rules to empower the territories to meet the unique fiscal and economic challenges that each territory faces.”

The governors are calling for a separate title or subtitle for the territories in any tax reform bill considered by the tax-writing committees of the U.S Congress.

The governors are hoping to see “special rules for economic growth and jobs creation in these American, but often neglected areas. We look forward to working with you to develop these rules and to ensure that tax reform benefits all Americans, regardless of where they reside.”

Source: Marianas Variety :

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