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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, July 6, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesFINANCE COMMITTEE FOCUSES ON TAX ISSUES

FINANCE COMMITTEE FOCUSES ON TAX ISSUES

Tax cuts, tax owed and tax commissions were the focus of the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday.
Senators were told that President George W. Bush's proposed income tax cut, which recently passed the U.S. House of Representatives, will cost the Virgin Islands government $28.6 million. And that’s not counting other tax credits, said Louis Willis, acting director of the V.I. Internal Revenue Bureau.
"President Bush’s tax cut will have a severe impact on the Virgin Islands tax revenues," said Nathan Simmonds, director of the Office of Fiscal and Economic Recovery Implementation. "No doubt. The impact will be substantial."
While the affects of the Washington-spurred tax cut could be large, it is dwarfed by the $67 million the Virgin Islands government is owed in delinquent property taxes. Finance Commissioner Bernice Turnbull said that while the administration’s Five-Year Operating and Strategic Financial Plan for dealing with the territory's deficit calls for selling 1998 and prior year property tax liens, that effort was stymied by the Legislature.
Instead, Finance is in the process of hiring more collection officers to help the four now at work.
Yet another tax burden for the government is the federal Earned Income Credit, which is aimed at assisting those living on low incomes. The Virgin Islands government pays some $14 million a year to cover the Earned Income Credit.
"That has been a devastating credit to this government for the past 10 years," Willis said. "It’s an unfunded liability to the government of the Virgin Islands."
To address the various tax issues facing the territory, Ira Mills, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said recently passed legislation to launch the Tax Reform Commission is aimed at finding ways to raise more revenue. The commission will conduct a detailed assessment of all local taxes, Mills said.
In other committee action, senators voted 4-2 to hold off on approving an $1 million application for the Intermediary Re-lending Program from the Government Development Bank.
The committee approved a grant application for $523,200 dollars to provide an academic campus on St. Thomas for students with learning and behavioral disorders operated by Olufunke Olaniyan-Greaux.
A 20-year lease agreement between the Department of Planning and Natural Resources and St. Thomas-based Auto Body Parts was moved to the Government Operations Committee.

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Tax cuts, tax owed and tax commissions were the focus of the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday.
Senators were told that President George W. Bush's proposed income tax cut, which recently passed the U.S. House of Representatives, will cost the Virgin Islands government $28.6 million. And that’s not counting other tax credits, said Louis Willis, acting director of the V.I. Internal Revenue Bureau.
"President Bush’s tax cut will have a severe impact on the Virgin Islands tax revenues," said Nathan Simmonds, director of the Office of Fiscal and Economic Recovery Implementation. "No doubt. The impact will be substantial."
While the affects of the Washington-spurred tax cut could be large, it is dwarfed by the $67 million the Virgin Islands government is owed in delinquent property taxes. Finance Commissioner Bernice Turnbull said that while the administration’s Five-Year Operating and Strategic Financial Plan for dealing with the territory's deficit calls for selling 1998 and prior year property tax liens, that effort was stymied by the Legislature.
Instead, Finance is in the process of hiring more collection officers to help the four now at work.
Yet another tax burden for the government is the federal Earned Income Credit, which is aimed at assisting those living on low incomes. The Virgin Islands government pays some $14 million a year to cover the Earned Income Credit.
"That has been a devastating credit to this government for the past 10 years," Willis said. "It’s an unfunded liability to the government of the Virgin Islands."
To address the various tax issues facing the territory, Ira Mills, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said recently passed legislation to launch the Tax Reform Commission is aimed at finding ways to raise more revenue. The commission will conduct a detailed assessment of all local taxes, Mills said.
In other committee action, senators voted 4-2 to hold off on approving an $1 million application for the Intermediary Re-lending Program from the Government Development Bank.
The committee approved a grant application for $523,200 dollars to provide an academic campus on St. Thomas for students with learning and behavioral disorders operated by Olufunke Olaniyan-Greaux.
A 20-year lease agreement between the Department of Planning and Natural Resources and St. Thomas-based Auto Body Parts was moved to the Government Operations Committee.