House passes bill to suspend jet fuel tax

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THE House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a bill proposing to suspend the payment of aviation fuel tax during a state of significant emergency.

Introduced by Speaker Blas Jonathan Attao, H.B. 21-102 now goes to the Senate.

All the 18 House members present voted to approve the measure, which the speaker said “will cushion the impact of the drastic loss in tourist arrivals due to novel corona virus outbreak.”

Reps. Roman Benavente and Tina Sablan were excused from the session on Wednesday.

H.B. 21-102 states that while it is prudent to protect the health and welfare of the people living and visiting the CNMI, “we find that the request to suspend the arrivals of travelers from mainland China will have an adverse financial effect on the airlines, and in turn, negatively affect the economy of the CNMI.”

The bill provides that the seller of aviation fuel “may apply to the secretary of Finance for a tax credit for the amount of the aviation fuel tax excluded from the price of aviation fuel sold to international carriers during the period of the declaration of significant emergency and the 60 days thereafter.”

Also passed on Wednesday was House Bill 21-104, which proposes to scrap the 30-day grace period in paying excise taxes.

House Floor Leader John Paul Sablan introduced the bill, which now goes to the Senate.

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