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Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, August 14, 2022
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Make It Simple

Dear Source:

Let me first express outrage over the study that WMA paid $850,000 for. Had an impact study been done on the various income groups in the VI, the EUF would never have seen the light of the day. And who would gladly have conducted this impact study? Our Chambers of Commerce. In fact, that's what they are doing right now. And guess what? They are doing it for free! In America there is a peculiar mistrust of free advice, but if you tack an $850,000 fee to it and call it consulting, it becomes an Oracle.
WMA has spent well over a million dollars on this joke and at the same time revealed itself as a new bureaucratic monster, ready to develop miles of red tape and at the same time oblivious to the woes of the lower income groups in the Territory. Did it ever occur to the WMA what a dinner table would look like for a family making $25,000 a year AFTER these fees were implemented? I say shame on the people who created the framework for this study. I understand, that The Senate back then mandated WMA to get it's financing through a EUF, so in all fairness, let us put part of the blame where it ultimately belongs. Once again do we see we a law pas that has unforeseen consequences for all of us. Thanks God that we have individuals and organizations dedicated to scrutinize every move taken by our lawmakers. Can you imagine the consequences if this proposal had passed under the radar?
My dad used to say: If you are looking for explanations, You will find many! If you are looking for excuses, You won't find any!
All that said, we do need a way to handle our waste and we do need to satisfy the FEDS to avoid decertification of our airport here on STX and we do need to make sure that we don't ruin our environment. No doubt it takes money. Yes, we could streamline our government and easily pay for this and have money to spare for a desperately needed overhaul of WAPA, but after 20 years here I don't see that happen easily, certainly not overnight.
So if we absolutely HAVE to collect more money for our Government, it should be done in ways that fulfill the following four criterias:
1) The tax must not impact the low income segment of the population.
2) The implementation should be simple and require no extra personnel to collect or enforce.
3) The tax should have a positive impact on the taxpayer as well as his environment.
4) The taxpayer, through his own behavior, should have the option not to pay more than he already does.
In my home country (Denmark) we call it the 'Poison' tax. It is levied against sugar, alcohol, tobacco and gas. The first three items kill you, and if not they add enormous expenses to society: Obesity, cancer and alcohol related crime and accidents eats up a good slice of our budget and why not let the abusers of these substances pay for their own folly. This logic should appeal to everybody, but the taxation of these items violate criteria #1and 2, which leave us with: GASOLINE! Let us tax gasoline another US Dollar! Are you freaking out? Don't! You don't HAVE to pay this tax. And here is how you can avoid it:
1) Get a car that does 25mpg instead of 12mpg.
2) Cut down on driving for the sake of driving.
3) Loose 50 pounds so you fit into a smaller car.
4) Get rid of that third car and start picking up people who need a lift.
The collection system is already in place. We reduce the collective carbon footprint for the entire Territory. It does not hurt the people who already cannot afford a car, and those who CHOOSE to maintain their driving habits and have the money will also be the ones who pay the most.
The 'Poison' tax is the backbone for financing waste management throughout Europe and is a 100% success. As a bonus you have a healthier population and a healthier environment.
Give me one GOOD reason why it wouldn't work here as well.
P.S. To May Adams Cornwall: This study took 20 minutes out of my time and you can have it for free!

Steffen Larsen
St. Croix

Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to source@viaccess.net.

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Dear Source:

Let me first express outrage over the study that WMA paid $850,000 for. Had an impact study been done on the various income groups in the VI, the EUF would never have seen the light of the day. And who would gladly have conducted this impact study? Our Chambers of Commerce. In fact, that's what they are doing right now. And guess what? They are doing it for free! In America there is a peculiar mistrust of free advice, but if you tack an $850,000 fee to it and call it consulting, it becomes an Oracle.
WMA has spent well over a million dollars on this joke and at the same time revealed itself as a new bureaucratic monster, ready to develop miles of red tape and at the same time oblivious to the woes of the lower income groups in the Territory. Did it ever occur to the WMA what a dinner table would look like for a family making $25,000 a year AFTER these fees were implemented? I say shame on the people who created the framework for this study. I understand, that The Senate back then mandated WMA to get it's financing through a EUF, so in all fairness, let us put part of the blame where it ultimately belongs. Once again do we see we a law pas that has unforeseen consequences for all of us. Thanks God that we have individuals and organizations dedicated to scrutinize every move taken by our lawmakers. Can you imagine the consequences if this proposal had passed under the radar?
My dad used to say: If you are looking for explanations, You will find many! If you are looking for excuses, You won't find any!
All that said, we do need a way to handle our waste and we do need to satisfy the FEDS to avoid decertification of our airport here on STX and we do need to make sure that we don't ruin our environment. No doubt it takes money. Yes, we could streamline our government and easily pay for this and have money to spare for a desperately needed overhaul of WAPA, but after 20 years here I don't see that happen easily, certainly not overnight.
So if we absolutely HAVE to collect more money for our Government, it should be done in ways that fulfill the following four criterias:
1) The tax must not impact the low income segment of the population.
2) The implementation should be simple and require no extra personnel to collect or enforce.
3) The tax should have a positive impact on the taxpayer as well as his environment.
4) The taxpayer, through his own behavior, should have the option not to pay more than he already does.
In my home country (Denmark) we call it the 'Poison' tax. It is levied against sugar, alcohol, tobacco and gas. The first three items kill you, and if not they add enormous expenses to society: Obesity, cancer and alcohol related crime and accidents eats up a good slice of our budget and why not let the abusers of these substances pay for their own folly. This logic should appeal to everybody, but the taxation of these items violate criteria #1and 2, which leave us with: GASOLINE! Let us tax gasoline another US Dollar! Are you freaking out? Don't! You don't HAVE to pay this tax. And here is how you can avoid it:
1) Get a car that does 25mpg instead of 12mpg.
2) Cut down on driving for the sake of driving.
3) Loose 50 pounds so you fit into a smaller car.
4) Get rid of that third car and start picking up people who need a lift.
The collection system is already in place. We reduce the collective carbon footprint for the entire Territory. It does not hurt the people who already cannot afford a car, and those who CHOOSE to maintain their driving habits and have the money will also be the ones who pay the most.
The 'Poison' tax is the backbone for financing waste management throughout Europe and is a 100% success. As a bonus you have a healthier population and a healthier environment.
Give me one GOOD reason why it wouldn't work here as well.
P.S. To May Adams Cornwall: This study took 20 minutes out of my time and you can have it for free!

Steffen Larsen
St. Croix

Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to source@viaccess.net.