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Charlotte Amalie
Thursday, June 30, 2022
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Dear Source:
After reading Mr. Baur’s article titled "Territory’s Status Discussed at U.N. Day Event," I applaud Gov. John DeJongh Jr. for have the foresight to not forward the draft constitution to President Obama.
Independence!!! Really?!? How??? Gerard Emanuel is correct in that the issue of the Territory’s status is immaterial (not almost) until the more serious issue of economic development (and more importantly – economic independence) is addressed. Is the Territory that is so financially, economically and logistically dependent on the US mainland simply going to do without sending its budget proposal request off to Washington? How are we then to sustain ourselves?
The budget for fiscal year 2008 was $799 Million; 2009’s was $766 Million and 2010’s is projected to be $855 Million. Other than tax revenue from Tourism, Rum and Hovensa; do we have a means of achieveing such exorbitant budgetary goals each year on a consistent basis? Tax revenues from rum are $130 Million per year (I’m being flattering). Hovensa tax revenue, let’s say at $150 Million. Tax revenue from tourism, $150 Million is good a guess as any. That totals only $430 Million; still $425 Million short of $855 Million. Unless, of course, our senators can find a way to squeeze $425 Million out of 108,000 citizens. Why, pray tell, are our budgets so high for a population of 108,000 persons? Am I to believe that the Territory is spending nearly $8,000 on services for each of it’s citizens? Is there a mean by which we can reduce these ridiculously over-inflated budgets? Are we holding our leaders responsible? Or is our government just too big; too inefficient; too wasteful? Ah, here lies the rub…
As an example, I cite the city of Columbus, GA. Similar in size and demographics as the USVI.
Population: Columbus 188,000; USVI 108,000
Senators: Columbus 7; USVI 15
2009 Budget: Columbus $210M; USVI $766M
Do we see a problem here? The Territory has one senator for every 7,200 citizens; while Columbus has one senator for roughly every 27,000 citizens. Columbus’ budget is also less than one third of the Territory’s. How is this even possible? Surely with the USVI spending nearly $8,000 on services (sarcasm) for every citizen we: a) are sending off the next generation of geniuses to Ivy League Colleges. b) have built up the Territory to where it now competes with Dubai, New York, Silicon Valley and London. c) have the healthiest citizens of any industrialized nation. d) created a Utopian society where drugs, crime and violence is non-existent. Have we??? No!!!
Before we talk about shrugging off US colonialism, we first need to shake ourselves up and shrug off the corruption and wasteful spending that has become associated with the Territory. Or we may find ourselves as we were before, in a continuous cycle of governors appointed by the President and not elected by the people.
Bennett Hepburn
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Dear Source:
After reading Mr. Baur's article titled "Territory's Status Discussed at U.N. Day Event," I applaud Gov. John DeJongh Jr. for have the foresight to not forward the draft constitution to President Obama.
Independence!!! Really?!? How??? Gerard Emanuel is correct in that the issue of the Territory's status is immaterial (not almost) until the more serious issue of economic development (and more importantly - economic independence) is addressed. Is the Territory that is so financially, economically and logistically dependent on the US mainland simply going to do without sending its budget proposal request off to Washington? How are we then to sustain ourselves?
The budget for fiscal year 2008 was $799 Million; 2009's was $766 Million and 2010's is projected to be $855 Million. Other than tax revenue from Tourism, Rum and Hovensa; do we have a means of achieveing such exorbitant budgetary goals each year on a consistent basis? Tax revenues from rum are $130 Million per year (I'm being flattering). Hovensa tax revenue, let's say at $150 Million. Tax revenue from tourism, $150 Million is good a guess as any. That totals only $430 Million; still $425 Million short of $855 Million. Unless, of course, our senators can find a way to squeeze $425 Million out of 108,000 citizens. Why, pray tell, are our budgets so high for a population of 108,000 persons? Am I to believe that the Territory is spending nearly $8,000 on services for each of it's citizens? Is there a mean by which we can reduce these ridiculously over-inflated budgets? Are we holding our leaders responsible? Or is our government just too big; too inefficient; too wasteful? Ah, here lies the rub...
As an example, I cite the city of Columbus, GA. Similar in size and demographics as the USVI.
Population: Columbus 188,000; USVI 108,000
Senators: Columbus 7; USVI 15
2009 Budget: Columbus $210M; USVI $766M
Do we see a problem here? The Territory has one senator for every 7,200 citizens; while Columbus has one senator for roughly every 27,000 citizens. Columbus' budget is also less than one third of the Territory's. How is this even possible? Surely with the USVI spending nearly $8,000 on services (sarcasm) for every citizen we: a) are sending off the next generation of geniuses to Ivy League Colleges. b) have built up the Territory to where it now competes with Dubai, New York, Silicon Valley and London. c) have the healthiest citizens of any industrialized nation. d) created a Utopian society where drugs, crime and violence is non-existent. Have we??? No!!!
Before we talk about shrugging off US colonialism, we first need to shake ourselves up and shrug off the corruption and wasteful spending that has become associated with the Territory. Or we may find ourselves as we were before, in a continuous cycle of governors appointed by the President and not elected by the people.
Bennett Hepburn