September 30, 2010) â€“U.S. President Barack Obama signed legislation that will delay the minimum wage increase scheduled to take effect in American Samoa for 2010 and 2011.
Governor Togiola said the delay in minimum wage hike, through H.R. 3940, is a much-needed blessing for the Territory.
â€œWe have truly been spared another disaster and this hold on the minimum wage increase, even if itâ€™s for only two years, will allow us time to work with this very important issue,â€ said Governor Togiola. â€œI am very grateful to President Obama for his favorable consideration and expeditious action. When I received the great news this afternoon, I breathed a huge sigh of relief, and thanked God for His direction and help. The minimum wage issue has made it impossible to attract investments because of the uncertainty it has created. I truly welcome this two-year suspension, but it is not the ultimate solution we need.â€
Governor Togiola said there are so many hardworking and caring people to thank for the wonderful news for American Samoa.
â€œIt is important to give credit where it is due. I want to thank Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii for his continuing support of American Samoa and helping to direct our attention to issues that we can address effectively to help our own cause. I wish to also express my thanks to our Congressman Faleomavaega Eni for his role in keeping track of this situation and asking the Senate and the House memberships for this relief. I look forward to our efforts in working with him for a permanent solution to our minimum wage to propose in the future.â€
Governor Togiola also thanked U.S. senators and representatives and their respective staffs for their support in the successful passage of this very important federal legislation for American Samoa.
â€œThis great news is also giving me hope that we will be able to work with Congress, on both sides of the aisle, to forge a permanent solution to the wage issues as well as our economic development needs. If we do not have a permanent solution for this issue, it will continue to be a major set back for near future developments. We need a permanent solution that makes sense for us and will help us effect more effective economic development,â€ said Governor Togiola. â€œI wish to recognize with gratitude and appreciation the special understanding given to my plea to U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and his staff. I have never met the senator, but the good relations that my Washington staff have with him and his staff have enabled us to appeal to him for help, and he was gracious in his response and assurances.â€
Governor Togiola gave thanks to the White House staff for their support in always being helpful; and also to his attorney and staff in Washington D.C. for the great assistance and diligence in pursuing Congressional help to achieve success in this matter.
â€œI wish to also thank the Fono for their support and I know that our people here in American Samoa have also been praying for relief, and God has answered us favorably. We give thanks to God for His guiding hand in these endeavors,â€ said Governor Togiola. â€œWe have truly been spared another disaster, so now we have a lot of work to do in the next two years to ensure that this issue is resolved in the best interest of our people and our businesses.â€