The Virgin Islands people looking forward to the future cannot continue to allow major companies to enjoy the fringe benefits of depleting our tax resources. We are to remember, as simple as it seems, these monies help to maintain our cash-strapped government. If we continue to grant these wishes, we encourage the public to believe that we are a cash-cow community and something is definitely wrong.
We have changed the IDC [Industrial Development Commission] to the EDC [Economic Development Commission], but has the mission of this organization changed? Granted, some companies who apply for benefits may qualify; however, where is the watchdog section of this organization to make sure that the stipulations set forth are followed? I am pretty sure all those stipulations in Innovative's EDC benefits have not been followed.
I do believe Senator Donastorg has the right idea — that we must keep an eye on these companies. I recommend that EDC benefits should not be given longer than two years and that there be stringent rules for re-application. There are many people who suffer because our continuous folly of growing the business atmosphere that we must give away our islands. The fact remains clear that if companies want to do business in the Virgin Islands, they will conduct business.
I do understand that we need these businesses to help keep our community growing. Unfortunately, if we do not come up with new ideas, our community will continue to suffer. The trickle-down effect has been happening for years, and if we look carefully at the status of the federal government, how long do we believe they will continue to bail us out because of our mismanagement?
Baltimore, Maryland and St. Thomas
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