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Palau senators no longer want to repeal visa fee

Politics

Palau senators no longer want to repeal visa fee

Palau senators want to reverse the repeal of a visa fee and reinstate collection of environmental impact fees effective Oct.1.

On July 28, senators had agreed to remove the visa fee before it was to be implemented.

Sen. Surangel Whipps Jr. said that he subsequently explained to his colleagues that taking out the visa fee and delaying collection of the EIF would mean a loss of at least  $11.8 million in revenues for Palau.

The visa fee and EIF are provisions in the Palau Marine Sanctuary law. Revenues from the EIF are supposed to fund the marine sanctuary, a pension plan, and the protected areas network. Money also would be divided among the states as replacement for fishing rights revenues.

With no fees, Whipps said, the states could each lose at least $1 million over just six months.

The house of delegates, which introduced the repeal of the visa fee, is expected to reject the reinstatement.

Whipps was off island when Congress canceled the fees in June. Sen. Sandra Pierantozzi, who supported the repeal of the visa fee, said she was convinced that reinstating it would avert a budget shortfall in the future – especially of funds going to the states and pension plan.

Source: Palau senators no longer want to repeal visa fee | Pacific | postguam.com

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