Lt. Gov. Eloy S. Inos will leave today for Washington, D.C., California, and Hawaii to meet with federal officials on major issues affecting the CNMI, including transitioning government employees to the U.S. Social Security program by Oct. 1 and the possibility of once again exempting Filipino and Korean transitional workers from paying federal taxes.
Inos leaves the CNMI a day after Gov. Benigno R. Fitial returned from three weeks of official and personal trips to Hawaii, American Samoa, Florida, and Idaho.
Press secretary Angel Demapan, when asked about Inos' trip, confirmed that the lieutenant governor will go to Washington, D.C. first for a Sept. 6 meeting with U.S. Department of Treasury Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy Mark Mazur regarding FICA exemption for Filipino and Korean workers.
FICA stands for Federal Insurance Contribution Act.
Inos' meeting with Mazur will come days after the CNMI government voluntarily dismissed its lawsuit against the U.S. Treasury and the U.S. Internal Revenue Service over the imposition of FICA tax on Filipino and Korean workers.
Demapan said Inos will have a Sept. 11 or 12 meeting in San Francisco, California with U.S. Social Security Administration regional officials, “regarding transition of government employees into the social security system beginning October 1.”
“The lieutenant governor is hoping to meet with Regional Commissioner Bill Zielinski and Director Martin White. These meetings have been requested and awaiting confirmation as of this reply,” Demapan said.
Inos, when he was acting governor last week, signed into law a bill expressing the CNMI's desire to have the U.S. Social Security program extended to local government employees.
An accompanying pension recovery bill, however, is still with the Legislature. The House and Senate are expected to go into a conference committee for a compromise version.
The press secretary also said that on Sept. 13, Inos will be in Honolulu, Hawaii to meet with the CNMI Medical Referral Office staff “regarding budgetary and operations matters.”
Special counsel Jim Stump will be accompanying Inos on this trip.