Virgin Islanders should applaud the efforts of Delegate Donna Christensen for the courageous initiative in drafting legislation to "Create a Chief Financial Officer for the Government of the Virgin Islands." The Virgin Islands Government has been appropriating and spending in excess of actual revenues. Deficits continue to climb each fiscal year and no one seems to care or at least to say "enough is enough." At the present time, the larger tax revenue sources are mortgaged to debt or borrowing, (gross receipts taxes or internal revenue matching fund). Deficits eventually affect social and economic aspects of living. Many states have learned that lesson the hard way, and I cannot imagine that the Virgin Islands is any better off than them. Budget cutting is being exercised by local, county and state governments because revenue is not matching spending dollar for dollar.
Virgin Islands legislators are afraid to say "No" to spending what is not available because they want to remain popular and to be electable. They should applaud Delegate Christensen's proposed legislation, because it's creating a means of helping to improve the territory's fiscal health and to do what needs to be done. The legislation to create the CFO is proposed for a period not to exceed five years and should give the territory some breathing room to put its fiscal house in order.
The handwriting has been on the wall for quite some time and it is time for everyone to realize that the territory is "heading downhill fiscally without brakes" as expressed by the late Walter I. M. Hodge. Let us pursue the right and courageous line of action and support the proposed CFO legislation.
Eric E. Dawson
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