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BENNERSON: TIME TO ACT

Sen. Gregory Bennerson said his proposal for an 8 percent sales tax isn't written in stone.
The St. Croix senator said, "It is not my intent nor direction to force a proposal that is detrimental to any segment of the community. I will continue to work for tax changes in the territory. There presently is a Tax Reform Cluster born out of the economic summit that is addressing tax changes. It is clear we must do better in collecting our revenues. With six months into new elective offices, I am compelled to act. How much longer can we wait?"
Bennerson released a rough draft of his proposal earlier this month, saying,
"Our businesses are struggling to stay open; a sales tax will lessen the load. With our average excise tax rate at 4 percent and the gross receipts tax at 4 percent, businesses have to mark up their products just to break even."
But many business people in the territory don't think it will help.
Kathy Peterson, owner of the Leather shop on Main Street, told St. Thomas Source the tax would kill her already-ailing business by driving customers away.
Noel Loftus, president of the St. Croix Chamber of Commerce, has said the sales tax would create unemployment and pull even more economic activity away from the territory.
Bennerson said, "As people approach me to voice their concerns, once explained, many understand what is being attempted. However, because of the timing and economic atmosphere, it is understandable that negative reactions would arise."
In a release Thursday, Bennerson said the draft bill has not yet been assigned to a committee.

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Sen. Gregory Bennerson said his proposal for an 8 percent sales tax isn't written in stone.
The St. Croix senator said, "It is not my intent nor direction to force a proposal that is detrimental to any segment of the community. I will continue to work for tax changes in the territory. There presently is a Tax Reform Cluster born out of the economic summit that is addressing tax changes. It is clear we must do better in collecting our revenues. With six months into new elective offices, I am compelled to act. How much longer can we wait?"
Bennerson released a rough draft of his proposal earlier this month, saying,
"Our businesses are struggling to stay open; a sales tax will lessen the load. With our average excise tax rate at 4 percent and the gross receipts tax at 4 percent, businesses have to mark up their products just to break even."
But many business people in the territory don't think it will help.
Kathy Peterson, owner of the Leather shop on Main Street, told St. Thomas Source the tax would kill her already-ailing business by driving customers away.
Noel Loftus, president of the St. Croix Chamber of Commerce, has said the sales tax would create unemployment and pull even more economic activity away from the territory.
Bennerson said, "As people approach me to voice their concerns, once explained, many understand what is being attempted. However, because of the timing and economic atmosphere, it is understandable that negative reactions would arise."
In a release Thursday, Bennerson said the draft bill has not yet been assigned to a committee.