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Charlotte Amalie
Thursday, August 18, 2022
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What If…?

Dear Source:
What if the budget of the Virgin Islands, which stands to be some $830 Million, was divided equally based on population. As most people know, "per-capita" is a standard way of figuring out many monetary realities: Per-capita income, the amount of taxation per-capita, per-capita spending and so on. If these figures have validity in fiscal matters then why not divide the budget of the Virgin Islands per-capita. Here's what would occur:
Based on 111,000 people the per-capita spending with a budget of $830 Million is $7477 per person. If St Croix has a population of 52000 then that Island should receive benefits in terms of government services equal to or over $388,000,000. For St Thomas with approximately 53,500, the government outlay should be $400,000,000. For St John with approximately 5500 the figure should be $41,000,000. Of course, these figures must consider central government spending on courts, legislature and staff for every government office but it gives a pretty good picture of the per-capita spending. If we assume that 50% goes to government salaries, retirement, offices, etc then the average per-capita spending that actually gets to the people is $3700+
On St John, that would amount to $20,500,000. As every St Johnian knows, funding in those amounts are never the case. If it were, our roads would be fixed and paved and we may even have those yellow stripes on the roads, you know, like they have on St Croix and St Thomas. With that kind of money, we could have had by-pass roads built to alleviate traffic in Cruz Bay or maybe, just maybe a parking lot could be built. As it is, people hate to even go into town because of the traffic and parking problems. This really makes our restaurants and other entertainment businesses really happy. It sure helps the taxis though. Maybe some of that money could go to infrastructure as the roads, schools and all recreational facilities are crumbling down around us. Most St Johnians have to leave island to get almost everything they need because the prices are so high on St John. Maybe some of that money could go to keeping the barge and ferry rates down by subsidizing. Perhaps a new school, a real government center, parking, clean streets, piped water, piped sewage, adequate electric utilities, modern phone service and another ball field for kids would be possible.
As it is, St Johnians pay well over $20,000,000 in income, property, gross receipts, customs, hotel, and excise taxes. Then there are fees like DMV, permits, etc. Oh yes, and we even have to pay Port Authority to go home on the expensive barge with our less expensive goods from St Thomas. And then there is WAPA. Enough said.
Will there ever be a time when people actually get back in services what they put in through taxes? I think the Senate should consider per-capita when figuring the budget. Maybe then the people will actually get an equal share of the pie.

Paul Devine
St. John

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:
What if the budget of the Virgin Islands, which stands to be some $830 Million, was divided equally based on population. As most people know, "per-capita" is a standard way of figuring out many monetary realities: Per-capita income, the amount of taxation per-capita, per-capita spending and so on. If these figures have validity in fiscal matters then why not divide the budget of the Virgin Islands per-capita. Here's what would occur:
Based on 111,000 people the per-capita spending with a budget of $830 Million is $7477 per person. If St Croix has a population of 52000 then that Island should receive benefits in terms of government services equal to or over $388,000,000. For St Thomas with approximately 53,500, the government outlay should be $400,000,000. For St John with approximately 5500 the figure should be $41,000,000. Of course, these figures must consider central government spending on courts, legislature and staff for every government office but it gives a pretty good picture of the per-capita spending. If we assume that 50% goes to government salaries, retirement, offices, etc then the average per-capita spending that actually gets to the people is $3700+
On St John, that would amount to $20,500,000. As every St Johnian knows, funding in those amounts are never the case. If it were, our roads would be fixed and paved and we may even have those yellow stripes on the roads, you know, like they have on St Croix and St Thomas. With that kind of money, we could have had by-pass roads built to alleviate traffic in Cruz Bay or maybe, just maybe a parking lot could be built. As it is, people hate to even go into town because of the traffic and parking problems. This really makes our restaurants and other entertainment businesses really happy. It sure helps the taxis though. Maybe some of that money could go to infrastructure as the roads, schools and all recreational facilities are crumbling down around us. Most St Johnians have to leave island to get almost everything they need because the prices are so high on St John. Maybe some of that money could go to keeping the barge and ferry rates down by subsidizing. Perhaps a new school, a real government center, parking, clean streets, piped water, piped sewage, adequate electric utilities, modern phone service and another ball field for kids would be possible.
As it is, St Johnians pay well over $20,000,000 in income, property, gross receipts, customs, hotel, and excise taxes. Then there are fees like DMV, permits, etc. Oh yes, and we even have to pay Port Authority to go home on the expensive barge with our less expensive goods from St Thomas. And then there is WAPA. Enough said.
Will there ever be a time when people actually get back in services what they put in through taxes? I think the Senate should consider per-capita when figuring the budget. Maybe then the people will actually get an equal share of the pie.

Paul Devine
St. John

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.