PALIKIR, POHNPEI. January 24, 2019– During its recent Sixth Regular Session, the 20th Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia passed measures that remedied an issue on corporate tax; addressed budgetary needs of the National Government; and tackled the manifold needs of the states.
The Congress had, through Congressional Act (CA) 20-154, amended Title 54 [Taxation and Customs] of the FSM Code, specifically section 352, which addressed Payment of Tax. It was brought to the attention of the Body that the existing Public Law 17-73 placed administrative burden on both the taxpayers and the tax collectors. Through the Act, the Congress amended the existing law to eliminate the interim tax payment requirement of Major Corporations.
Along with the corporate tax, the Congress passed CA 20-151 for a supplemental budget of $3,752,343 for the various programs and endeavors of the National Government. The President has signed the Act into Public Law 20-154 with several line items vetoes: two were for vetoed for technical reasons and one line-item veto was for $1.7M for land acquisition in Guam. He further noted that while the land acquisition remains a priority for the National Government and would be addressed at a later date, other urgent National Government matters required immediate funding.
A supplemental budget request of $1,707,641 was submitted to the Congress. According to the President’s transmittal letter, of the total supplemental, $128,452 is for operations, $478,500 is towards Subsidies and Contributions, and the $1,100,689 is itemized into the National Government’s ongoing Community Improvement Projects. The supplemental budget request received the approval of the Congress as CA 20-159.
The remaining Acts focused on funding for the states: CA 20-153, appropriated $ 1.4 million from the General Fund for the Body’s continued assistance towards grass root projects and social programs in all the four states.
CA 20-152,appropriated $600,000 for grass root projects and social programs specifically in the state of Chuuk.
The remaining measures of the session were for either changes to funds previously appropriated or changes to the use or the allottee of said funds, and they included:
CA 20-155, addressed the changes to the allottee and the use of funds previously appropriated for priority infrastructure funding in the states of Chuuk, Kosrae and Pohnpei;
CA 20-157, changed the use and allottee of funds previously appropriated for grass root projects and social programs in the state of Kosrae and Pohnpei; and
Specific to the state of Yap, the Congress passed CA 20-156, and changed the use and the allottee of funds previously appropriated for the state’s grass root projects and social programs.
Rounding out the Congressional Acts of the Sixth Regular Session of the 20th FSM Congress are two measures for the state of Pohnpei: CA 20-158, changed the allottee of certain funds previously appropriated for priority infrastructure projects and social programs for the state; and CA 20-160, which changed the use and the allottee of funds previously appropriated for grass root projects and social programs in the state.
The 20th Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia had delayed the convening of the Sixth Regular Session from January 10, as set by law, to instead convene on January 14, 2019 to allow the Members to participate in the state governments’ inaugurations in the states and inauguration activities in the Micronesian region. On January 24, the Sixth Regular Session of the 20th Body adjourned sine-die.
According to Public Law 13-59, the next Regular Session of the Congress would be on May 11, 2019, unless a Special Session is called for earlier.
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