Marianas Variety

Last updateSat, 07 Dec 2019 12am

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    Saturday, December 7, 2019-6:09:17A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Leepan asks Finance about hotel occupancy tax collections owed to MVA

REPRESENTATIVE Joseph Leepan T. Guerrero has asked Finance Secretary David Atalig about the remaining hotel occupancy tax collections owed to the Marianas Visitor Authority.

Guerrero, who chairs the House Committee on Commerce and Tourism, told Atalig in a letter that “in light of the CNMI government’s financial situation and with the implementation of the austerity measures, it is…important that funds must be identified, provided that collections are enforced as well….”

He said the Commonwealth “is reliant heavily, and will continue to rely heavily, on the tourist industry as a primary source of private employment and public revenues.”

Guerrero said Public Law 18-1 established the MVA Trust Fund to be administered by the secretary of Finance.

Funds “shall be separated from the general fund and within 10 days after the filing deadline, Finance must remit the funds to the MVA Trust Fund,” the lawmaker added.

Last month, Guerrero expressed grave concern about the inadequate funding for the off-shore promotion of the CNMI as tourist destination. He said he was disappointed to learn that MVA was way behind in payments to its offshore offices that promote the islands in Asian markets.

Guerrero said MVA’s records showed that it had yet to receive $2.9 million in hotel occupancy tax collections from January to March.

Leepan said Finance should now owe MVA more than that amount.