I have an old Daily News front page from May 2003 that I saved on my computer file.
The headline reads: "VI tops the world in Debt per captia.
The territory owes $9,036.00 for every resident; far more than countries like Argentina and Israel."
Today: "Meanwhile, each resident’s share of the Virgin Islands combined bond market debt ($1.74 billion) and retirement system unfunded liability ($1.7 billion) is a whopping $29,965.
That’s based on a population figure of 114,800 as cited on the V.I. Tourism website.
If you add another $300 million to cover the infamous “retroactive salary increases” that were promised to government workers in the 1990s but not funded, the V.I. debt increases to $32, ,578 each for every man, woman and child living in the islands."
So our elected leaders have continuosly led us into more and more increased debt, robbing Peter to pay Paul.
There is absolutely no fiscal accountability but a continued waste stream that puts even WMA to shame.
This is where we are after 11 yrs and we have only ourselves to blame by continuing to elect the incompetent.
Time for a CFO to control the willful mismanagement and overspending.
Here's the rest of the letter to DN that I wrote last yr at the same time I compared our debt situation:
I continue to see a complete lack of fiscal and financial responsibility on the part of our Senators without regard to our dire debt situation. Much of which disregards billions of dollars of debt and panders for votes such as in the case of the reaffirmed support Friday for legislation extending until 2016 a program where any long-time V.I. Government employee will be able to take off two years from work with the government paying health insurance and retirement for the jobs that are not being performed. I don't care whether it is for 4 persons or 400 getting these benefits. It is wrong and it is time for these newly elected senators to get with it and show responsibility to all the taxpayers in the VI because from what I have seen and read recently, they sure don't get it and it is costing us with the constant increases in our cost of living, increased fees and deteriorating our quality of lives.
To think we could be stuck with them for 4 years instead of 2 years to a re-election is totally depressing.
Think about it and react.
I heard the director of the BIR last year on the radio talking about the number of tax forms filed here and I think they said that there were about 31,000 tax returns filed in 2012, and that number included both business and individual returns. I want to say that they also said that there about 17,000 individual returns that actually paid taxes that year, as opposed to those filing for a full refund of any taxes paid during the year or for a tax credit. However, my memory is hazy on this so the numbers might be way off...
Debt can be paid from many sources. Income tax isn't the only source of revenue to the USVI government. I'd say that all residents, all visitors, and more are tap-able.
Here's a partial list from http://www.vibir.gov/docs/TAX_STRU.htm (although not all taxes listed are paid to USVI) :
Individual Income Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Withholding from Wages, Social Security & Unemployment Taxes
Pension, Profit Sharing and Employees Benefit Plans
Miscellaneous Local Internal Revenue Taxes
Gross Receipts Tax
Hotel Room Tax
Highway User’s Tax
Telephonic Long Distance Tax
Gross Revenue Tax
Investment Alternative Tax
Real Property Tax
Special Aids to Businesses
Economic Development Program
Foreign Sales Corporations
Exempt International Banking Facilities
There's also federal aid, business license fees (to DLCA), corporate filing fees and trade name fees (to Lt. Gov.), etc., etc. Does anybody know where to find the annual amounts of each of these revenue sources? It would be interesting to see the breakdown.
As a resident of the USVI the taxes paid here stay here. Taxes paid to IRS stay there. There were several years of USVI taxes paid to the IRS and the person got letters indicating they had to pay their years of taxes to the BIR. BIR did not care one bit that they had been paid to the IRS they just want the money that is supposed to be in the territory. The IRS didn't care that the funds should have gone to BIR. They are separate entities that do not cooperate with each other. My friend was told that they are starting to verify locations - not sure how but probably checking all W2's filed by employers to verify the employee is paying taxes in the territory. That is the extent of the information that I will comfortably share.