At a hastily called meeting Saturday on St Croix, Gov. Kenneth E. Mapp and his cabinet discussed plans to reduce government spending 10 percent to help cover a $98 million deficit.
Earlier this week, the Office of Management and Budget had requested that each department/agency reduce their projected expenditures for the remainder of the year by 10 percent. According to a Government House News release, department and agency heads focused Saturday on how the proposed cuts will affect operations, assuming the Senate decides against increasing so-called “sin taxes,” taxes on such products as cigarettes, alcohol and other products, and a fee on time-share units.
“While I am extremely empathetic about the issues raised by departments/agencies as a result of these required reductions, without the shared contribution and commitment by all branches and instrumentalities of government, our cash position will continue to erode and result in delays of government operations,” Mapp said after the meeting.
Agency heads were instructed to refine their proposals for cutting spending for a follow-up cabinet meeting to be held in the coming week.
According to source close to the government, two cabinet members confirmed that all cabinet members had been called to St. Croix for the meeting, including off island. Vehicles bearing agency license plates were seen parked at the St Thomas seaplane terminal most of Saturday.