A petition submitted before the Olbiil Era Kelulau leadership urging to restore the old Social Security contribution rate is also urging lawmakers to conduct a public hearing     to allow sectors the opportunity to be heard on the impact of the increase.

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Sen. Mason Whipps, one of the senators who supported the signature gathering drive said  the petition is also a way for the people to voice out their concerns on the new law and whether changes should be made if it continues to impact the people.

Whipps said the “minority” senators have done it can to stop the increase in the contribution but has failed to convince the other lawmakers to do so.

“Our petitions says, you the citizens, you the residents, you workers, you the state businesses, is this an issue that we should be fighting for you on your behalf?  Let the Congress know that this really affects your life and the way you can do that is through a petition,”  Whipps said in an interview

If  you have an issue speak up, we, as  have tried everything we can do  if believe that we should continue to push this issue, sign the petition and urge the OEK to take action, “ he said.

He said the social security contributors should have been given enough time to prepare for the increase.

The bill was signed into law on September 27 and by October 1 the increase has been implemented.

The subject of the petition was a provision included in the Fiscal Year 2018 budget signed into law by President Tommy Remengesau Jr. on  September 27 contained  amendments to the Social Security Program that provide for a permanent financing of the $50 increase to the monthly benefits of retirees.

The increase was signed into law despite concerns from the Palau Chamber of Commerce and some members of the Senate on how it will impact businesses and employees.

Whipps clarified that the senators who are supporting the petition are not asking for Congress to stop the $50 monthly benefits to the retirees, instead is asking the lawmakers to restore the old social security rate or until Palau starts implementing the Palau Pristine Paradise  Fee.

The increase according to President Remengesau when he signed the bill into law has minimal impact on low-income earners, especially those who make less than $24,000 per year, instead the high-income earners and employers would absorb the increase.

Senators who are supporting the petition are hoping that the issue will be discussed in the next session of the Senate. (By: B. Carreon) [/restrict]