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Charlotte Amalie
Friday, August 12, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesEVERYBODY GRAB A BUCKET

EVERYBODY GRAB A BUCKET

The calypso a few years back cried, "Captain, this ship is sinking!"
By the calculations of everybody in government, more money is going out every month than is coming in. Every month bills go unpaid. Vendors are made to wait. Taxpayers' refunds are put on hold. The debt to unionized employees grows.
But like credit at the corner grocery, if you don't pay that bill, you reach a point where you don't have any credit left. That day is almost here for the Virgin Islands government.
So we need more money coming into the treasury and less going out. Unfortunately nobody wants to give more of their money to the government and nobody wants to get less money from the government. Everybody wants the problem to go away and everybody wants someone else to feel the pain.
The V.I. government has some tough choices to make. But ultimately it comes down to two options: take a lot from a few, or take a little from many.
Choice One: Take a lot from a few — raise business taxes and lay off/retire/deactivate some part of the government workforce. Although this looks attractive, there are two big problems. Any business tax increase will just be passed on to on-island consumers, making small local businesses less attractive to local shoppers, and making the big businesses look for someplace else to move to.
Any layoff or major reduction in government workers will increase general unemployment in an already weak economy. Not to mention the tremendous friction and strife across the islands as every department decides who stays and who goes. We cannot throw some from the lifeboat to keep it afloat!
Choice Two: Take a little from many — reduce all government workers' hours and reduce payment obligations. Although this was proposed a few weeks ago and got shot down, what else is there? It's the logical solution.
The last time it was brought up, the plan overlooked two areas: Some government workers are paid so little to start with that any cut for them is too much, and the private sector was not included in the sacrifice.
Here are some fine-tuning suggestions:
— Exempt employees making less than $20,000 a year from wage reduction.
— Reduce wages/hours of the $20,000 to $60,000 per annum employees by 5 percent.
— Cut the salaries of employees making more than $60,000 by 10 percent.
— Just so the private sector will not feel left out, pay 95 cents on every dollar owed to vendors prior to June 1, 1999. Exempt businesses with less than $100,000 per year gross income.
That takes a little from just about everyone who has been feeding from the government trough. But just to spread the burden around a little more, double the amount of any outstanding fees owed the government as soon as the current amnesty programs ends.
It is time for everyone to grab a bucket and try to keep this boat afloat.

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The calypso a few years back cried, "Captain, this ship is sinking!"
By the calculations of everybody in government, more money is going out every month than is coming in. Every month bills go unpaid. Vendors are made to wait. Taxpayers' refunds are put on hold. The debt to unionized employees grows.
But like credit at the corner grocery, if you don't pay that bill, you reach a point where you don't have any credit left. That day is almost here for the Virgin Islands government.
So we need more money coming into the treasury and less going out. Unfortunately nobody wants to give more of their money to the government and nobody wants to get less money from the government. Everybody wants the problem to go away and everybody wants someone else to feel the pain.
The V.I. government has some tough choices to make. But ultimately it comes down to two options: take a lot from a few, or take a little from many.
Choice One: Take a lot from a few -- raise business taxes and lay off/retire/deactivate some part of the government workforce. Although this looks attractive, there are two big problems. Any business tax increase will just be passed on to on-island consumers, making small local businesses less attractive to local shoppers, and making the big businesses look for someplace else to move to.
Any layoff or major reduction in government workers will increase general unemployment in an already weak economy. Not to mention the tremendous friction and strife across the islands as every department decides who stays and who goes. We cannot throw some from the lifeboat to keep it afloat!
Choice Two: Take a little from many -- reduce all government workers' hours and reduce payment obligations. Although this was proposed a few weeks ago and got shot down, what else is there? It's the logical solution.
The last time it was brought up, the plan overlooked two areas: Some government workers are paid so little to start with that any cut for them is too much, and the private sector was not included in the sacrifice.
Here are some fine-tuning suggestions:
-- Exempt employees making less than $20,000 a year from wage reduction.
-- Reduce wages/hours of the $20,000 to $60,000 per annum employees by 5 percent.
-- Cut the salaries of employees making more than $60,000 by 10 percent.
-- Just so the private sector will not feel left out, pay 95 cents on every dollar owed to vendors prior to June 1, 1999. Exempt businesses with less than $100,000 per year gross income.
That takes a little from just about everyone who has been feeding from the government trough. But just to spread the burden around a little more, double the amount of any outstanding fees owed the government as soon as the current amnesty programs ends.
It is time for everyone to grab a bucket and try to keep this boat afloat.