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Friday, August 12, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesBUDGET SLASHED BY $54 MILLION

BUDGET SLASHED BY $54 MILLION

The revised budget finally submitted to the Legislature by Gov. Charles W. Turnbull late Tuesday has been reduced to $432 million from the original $486 million budget submitted May 30.
The $54 million reduction will come from a combination of the governor's mandate to reduce government department and agency budgets by 10 percent to 15 percent, elimination of five holidays, 50-50 cost sharing of retirement and health insurance premiums and an early retirement package, according to a release Tuesday evening from Government House.
"Without immediate corrective actions such as the ones recommended here, the prospect of more delayed paydays, layoffs, furloughs and/or reduced workweeks for government employees will become a reality," Turnbull said.
"These recommended actions together with efforts already under way, such as adherence to a strict hiring freeze, attrition initiative and significant reduction sin payroll and overtime costs, will make good on my pledge to contain government spending consistent with anticipated revenues," he said in the release.
The release did not say which five government holidays will be targeted for elimination, but any proposal to cut holidays is likely to meet with opposition from the unions. So too is Turnbull's proposed change to a 50-50 split between the government and the employees in sharing retirement and health-insurance premiums.
Recent audit reports from both the V.I. Bureau of Audit and Control and the U.S. Interior Department reveal abuse of overtime in the Public Works Department and mismanagement of grant monies, among other areas where cost-savings could be instituted.
Tuesday's release promised to accelerate planning, reorganize and consolidate government functions, eliminate duplication of efforts and increase efficiency.
Despite implications that direct layoffs are not part of the austerity plan, sources say it has been strongly recommended by federal officials that numbers of government employees be reduced.
The Legislature is slated to begin budget hearings Wednesday after a three-week delay.

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The revised budget finally submitted to the Legislature by Gov. Charles W. Turnbull late Tuesday has been reduced to $432 million from the original $486 million budget submitted May 30.
The $54 million reduction will come from a combination of the governor's mandate to reduce government department and agency budgets by 10 percent to 15 percent, elimination of five holidays, 50-50 cost sharing of retirement and health insurance premiums and an early retirement package, according to a release Tuesday evening from Government House.
"Without immediate corrective actions such as the ones recommended here, the prospect of more delayed paydays, layoffs, furloughs and/or reduced workweeks for government employees will become a reality," Turnbull said.
"These recommended actions together with efforts already under way, such as adherence to a strict hiring freeze, attrition initiative and significant reduction sin payroll and overtime costs, will make good on my pledge to contain government spending consistent with anticipated revenues," he said in the release.
The release did not say which five government holidays will be targeted for elimination, but any proposal to cut holidays is likely to meet with opposition from the unions. So too is Turnbull's proposed change to a 50-50 split between the government and the employees in sharing retirement and health-insurance premiums.
Recent audit reports from both the V.I. Bureau of Audit and Control and the U.S. Interior Department reveal abuse of overtime in the Public Works Department and mismanagement of grant monies, among other areas where cost-savings could be instituted.
Tuesday's release promised to accelerate planning, reorganize and consolidate government functions, eliminate duplication of efforts and increase efficiency.
Despite implications that direct layoffs are not part of the austerity plan, sources say it has been strongly recommended by federal officials that numbers of government employees be reduced.
The Legislature is slated to begin budget hearings Wednesday after a three-week delay.