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Republican stand in the way of refunding working poor of the CNMI thousands of dollars each yearly

By Johnnie Rosario

Federal law since 1986 told both the governments of Guam and the CNMI to pay what's called the Earned Income (Tax) Credit, also known as the EITC. On Guam, what this means in 2020 dollars is that if you're a low wage earner, or if you have a lot of kids and a meager job, thousands of dollars are added to your tax refund every year. The EITC is an incentive to work.

In the CNMI, it works the same way - the EITC NMI workers apply to their tax return is supposed to give them hundreds to thousands of dollars more in refunds annually.

BUT - the CNMI government couldn't afford to pay out the enormous tax refunds this EITC would cause, so since it couldn't defy federal law, the government got crafty with it, and taxed the EITC earnings at 100 percent. It was a wash.

Comes now Congressmen Gregorio Kilili Sablan and Michael San Nicolas and their ingenious work on behalf of our territories. The gentlemen from the NMI and Guam managed to solve this decades-old problem of the two territorial governments paying for the federal mandate by getting Congress to approve 100 percent reimbursement of the EITC to both local governments.

Naturally, Democrat Congresswoman Tina Sablan rushed to introduce a bill in the CNMI House of Representative to repeal the 100 percent tax on the EITC. When that happens, the working poor of Saipan, Rota, and Tinian will be refunded hundreds to thousands of dollars more in the next round of tax refunds.

One would think that politicians who actually care about the working poor would jump on the opportunity to get the bill passed in no time. But not Gov. Ralph Torres's Republican Party. Nope. The party of limited government and less taxes has thumbed its nose at the idea of eliminating the 100 percent tax on the working poor.

The bill remains under consideration in the House. If it passes the House, it must still pass the Senate, which is controlled by the Republicans, and then signed by the Republican governor.

The irony remains that while Mr. Torres and his Republican cronies have had no problem letting the casino slide on tens of millions of dollars in taxes and fees, given hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer-paid contracts to big businesses that support the administration, and even squander money on fishing trips, these Republicans are scoffing at the idea of giving a break to the working poor.

Shame on them!

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1 Comment

This article is misleading. The only reason the EITC issue for the CNMI is being raised now - is because the federal government is handing money out like candy. Funny how these politicians like to act like they accomplished something when not really being required to do anything except take credit and issue vanity press releases. Politics as usual.

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