80.7 F
Charlotte Amalie
Friday, May 17, 2024


Dear Source:
I believe there are steps that could find the pay for the teachers year in and year out.
1) With Government employee shuttle-buses eliminate 1000 of the 2200 cars within a year. Total restriction of use VIG cars for personal use WITH CLEAR REQUIREMENT OF THE POLICE TO ENFORCE.
2) Reduce annual travel cost between St Thomas-St Croix from $20 million to $5 million. This is feasible in two ways: A) a Federal Highway funded "moving bridge" in reality a fast ocean going ship that runs between St Thomas-St Croix (at a maximum fare of $7 one-way as required under the program). This will need an annual subsidy of $5 million in exchange for reduced Governmmet tickets. The value of uniting the Territory into a single market of 110.000 is not measurable.
B) Devolving certain government functions to each Island. Eliminate the Education, Beautification, Public Works, Purchasing, Fire Departments for examples and retaining central Auditing, Tax collecting, Police, Justice and perhaps Agriculture. This will cause less savings but will results in better more efficient competitive management.
3) Cut the Senate operating budget from $15 million back to $5 million.
Step 2 & 3 alone are worth $25 million per year. A hiring freeze permitting the Government to hire only from those already employed by one of the three branches would mean no one will be fired or laid-off. We need reduction in Government dependency but we need to move cautiously and slowly.
BEYOND the teachers are the pressing needs of Police. Firemen, Medical Services, Senior Citizen Services and of upgrading the VIBIR. Paying for this requires urgent Auditing of the QUAGOS (QASI GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS) by an ANDERSON or PRICE WATERHOUSE and a review with their assistance of recent Federal Audits and a fundamental restructuring of the law relating to these entities. This is GERS, WAPA, VIPA, AND WICO, It is my understanding that between local Government tax, WICO & the VIPA each of the 2 million Cruise Ship Passengers pay $70 a piece which is circa $140 million and it seems our treasury gets $40 million at the most.
I am appalled that we Virgin Islanders have let the last three Governors reside not in Government House but as 'guest' of WICO which the Governor serves as Chairman of the Board. This is a double conflict of interest.
In as much as all taxes are a deductable expense from the Income tax, only businesses losing money pay them. This drives them out of business and causes loss of employment and a greater burden on the Government in a spiraling of revenue burdens and loss. There is less and less in the future unless we get off this path,
I believe that elimination of all taxes such as Gross Receipt, Customs and Excise, reduction of Private Property tax by 50%, removal of Business Property tax, Franchise tax, Licensing Fees which are all DEDUCTABLE Business expenses and replacing them by a Sales Tax ONLY on Commercial Property equal to the Commercial Property Tax, Franchise tax and Licensing Fees now collected but only a SALES TAX is not deductable. All tax collectors should be moved to the VIBIR. We need Federal assistance in training from the US-IRS. This an area we will receive the most return from upgrading skills, education and salaries.
Further I know that setting a date 6 or nine months in the future to cut the income tax -as allowed under the Organic Act -by 10%, with a broadcasting to Estate, Financial and Investment planners throughout the financial world will bring boom times to our Islands and Islanders. Companies paying more than $250 thousand, who register before the start date should be exempted from any fees.
Bold steps to an open economy and a total "Enterprise Zone" for the Territory is the path that cries to be followed.
Michael Paiewonsky

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