A win-win situation for tax review

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Dear Editor,

Re: Govt tax review gets backing 

I agree to have a review of the tax system in the country but its short sighted to target the churches and the clergy considering they act as a counter balance to the government. 

What should be reviewed is the relationship of the church and state. People complain about the separation of the two yes in a western democracy but not a Samoan traditional democracy. What should happen?

Govt. must have a memorandum of understanding with the Council of churches to lay out a set of responsibility and standards of the church and state.

For example: with the resources the church has in terms of the education system. Allow the churches to expand and develop Primary and Secondary education through their financial means but allow govt to pass educational competency standards and allow the govt to subsidise the church in its church development of education. Decreasing the govt tax burden and increasing the tax intake through employment and development/infrastructure.

Another Example. Demand that the churches take their social responsibilities seriously it has been a worrying sign of churches no longer taking a social stand on poverty. Allow churches to maintain a tax-free status with the clergy. In return that they have a social programme funded by the church resources. replacing some social services of the govt also reducing the tax liabilities of the govt. But allowing standards to be set and also regular reviews of that.

And there are many more ways then just a simple taxing of the clergymen.

What I don’t understand is that the govt and the church don’t co-operate in its resource allocation.

And that is scary to have a govt that is short sighted, not looking at the uniqueness of Samoa. In terms of the relationship of State, Church and Village. But instead look to western solutions for a nation that will never be a western society.

It’s not just a simple tax review or to tax any single type of group that Samoa needs, it’s the relationship and the responsibilities of these factors State, Church and Village in order for the financial and social security of Samoa. 

But I doubt the govt or Opposition will.

 

K. Vui 

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