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Hovensa 4th amendment vote

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islandjoan
(@islandjoan)
Trusted Member

Just to add - so the government can find $ for a legal team (chosen by De Jongh...hmmm..) yet how many $millions of tax refunds have yet to be paid?

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Posted : August 16, 2013 4:00 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

And our illustrious Senators can continue to collect their fat salaries for continuing to make very bad decisions while non profits and other programs that depend on funding do without and which impacts the financial future of all the VI and especially, STX.

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Posted : August 16, 2013 4:27 pm
vasecs
(@vasecs)
Advanced Member

It truly is beyond disgusting. There has got to be some criminal activity going on behind the scenes here. There's talk on cruciansinfocus about DeJongh's lawyer profiting from this.

I can't even think about this crap anymore it just makes me feel like my head is going to explode. The entire government here is such a freaking waste.

Political payback........think this is bad, follow the money on Carambola Resort.....

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Posted : August 17, 2013 10:31 am
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert
Rowdy802
(@Rowdy802)
Trusted Member

Adding more to the painfully obvious...

The Chamber of Commerce's wishful thinking...

http://stcroixsource.com/content/news/local-news/2013/08/26/st-croix-chamber-reacts-hovensa-fuel-rack-crisis

An island with well over 100 storage tanks and NONE can be used... The retailers are beginning to make contacts to bring fuel in... The government wonders where the heck to store aviation fuels...

http://virginislandsdailynews.com/news/st-croix-looking-to-p-r-for-gas-st-thomas-in-good-shape-1.1541869

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Posted : August 27, 2013 11:36 am
LiquidFluoride
(@LiquidFluoride)
Trusted Member

Adding more to the painfully obvious...

The Chamber of Commerce's wishful thinking...

http://stcroixsource.com/content/news/local-news/2013/08/26/st-croix-chamber-reacts-hovensa-fuel-rack-crisis

An island with well over 100 storage tanks and NONE can be used... The retailers are beginning to make contacts to bring fuel in... The government wonders where the heck to store aviation fuels...

http://virginislandsdailynews.com/news/st-croix-looking-to-p-r-for-gas-st-thomas-in-good-shape-1.1541869/blockquote >

won't this significantly increase fuel prices, which will impact the economy heavily.... how can people be this stupid?

isn't "don't bite the hand that feeds you" like the oldest saying ever?

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Posted : August 27, 2013 2:25 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

Those 11 senators have issued the death knell for STX.
Time for Crucian's to bombard these obviously ego driven, intellectually and morally challenged senators with phone calls, letters, petitions and show their disgust with this type of inept and dangerous leadership that jepordizes everyone's fututure in the VI.

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Posted : August 27, 2013 4:18 pm
Jumbie
(@ohiojumbie-2)
Trusted Member

Those 11 senators have issued the death knell for STX.
Time for Crucian's to bombard these obviously ego driven, intellectually and morally challenged senators with phone calls, letters, petitions and show their disgust with this type of inept and dangerous leadership that jeopardizes everyone's future in the VI.

Agree on death knell for STX statement.

After living on STX full time for about 7 years we are glad we moved back to Ohio May 2012, given the continuing deteriorating situation with "the VI economy and gov't actions".

Jumbie

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Posted : August 27, 2013 7:24 pm
Rowdy802
(@Rowdy802)
Trusted Member

The priorities are crooked... The government wants to allocate money to take Hovensa to court... Yet, they haven't figured out what to do about aviation fuel, much less allocate funds to either build storage tanks or try to repair a few of those old tanks next to the Renaissance Park... Or is the government hoping "they will survive"? The last thing STX needs is cancelled flights due to insufficient fuel... The airlines will NOT flight under that uncertainty...

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Posted : August 27, 2013 11:14 pm
vicanuck
(@vicanuck)
Expert

No worries...the senators are about to give in. They just have to work out the wording so they don't look like the a-holes we know them to be.

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Posted : August 29, 2013 12:16 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

Not so sure about that - they don't like to admit they are wrong.

See entire article: http://virginislandsdailynews.com/news/meeting-between-senators-governor-about-hovensa-postponed-1.1543140

"Although senators and the governor have talked in recent days about a potential meeting about the HOVENSA situation, that has not yet occurred."

"It was not completely clear on Tuesday whether it would."

"Regrettably, neither the formalization of the meeting through the office of the Senate president, nor an agreement on an agenda for the meeting could be accomplished in the time-frame initially contemplated and so the meeting has been postponed to a later date," Greaux wrote in the email.

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Posted : August 29, 2013 2:16 pm
LiquidFluoride
(@LiquidFluoride)
Trusted Member

what a great example of how ego-gone-wild can only cause damage, to your self and especially others.

a very frustrating situation; hopefully it's more complex than it seems and these guys actually are not throwing a "hissy fit" as it seems they are.

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Posted : August 29, 2013 4:35 pm
vicanuck
(@vicanuck)
Expert

Like I said...they just have to work out the wording so they can save face.

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Posted : August 29, 2013 9:52 pm
Yearasta
(@Yearasta)
Trusted Member

Governor Calls Senators to Task: "Now is the Time to Act"

RADIO ADDRESS
GOVERNOR JOHN P. DE JONGH, JR.
I would like to take a few minutes of your time to talk about our budget situation and the steps that we need to take to move forward as a community. I have no doubt that most of you listening are tired of politics and the “next day” second guessing that always seems to be right. Tired of the constant wrangling and shouting, the constant negativity in our public square.
Now, more than ever, this is the time for each of us, particularly those elected to lead our community and those whose voices are the loudest to demonstrate a positive attitude, to make a constructive contribution and to take the positive actions that will build a brighter future.
Our problems are many, but each of them is solvable. When we come together we have an extraordinary capacity to do what must be done--to find the path forward.
I work each and every day, through the many ups and downs, the successes of our people as well as terrible challenges and tragedies. Our work has been challenged by successive economic setbacks that have undermined our community and the capacity of our government. What hit us, and the entire U.S. economy, in 2008 and what is now referred to as the ‘Great Recession’ is not something we created but it ripped the economic foundation from under our community. And then, just as we were adjusting to that reality, we were hit with another devastating blow in January 2012 with the closing of the refinery.
But, we did not give up! We did what you have to do when facing difficult circumstances – you seek out the best paths forward, you swallow hard and make the difficult decisions, you give people hope and you set the foundation for the future. I recognized the unpopularity of many of the steps that we chose, but we did what we had to do. We borrowed against future rum cover-over revenues; we postponed salary increases we could not support; we increased tax rates; and the Legislature reduced salaries for a period of time, all so that we could maintain essential government programs and services and not compound the downturn in the private sector with massive public layoffs.
I have upset every constituency you can imagine. Along the way, we have faced the continuing vitriol of an opposition that fanned flames of the discomfort of those who were asked to sacrifice.
An “us or them” attitude was being created, particularly on certain radio stations and by certain politicians, including senators, even as no alternative or viable plan was put forward. Month after month, year after year, the rhetoric has become more and more extreme, the accusations more and more reckless. In each moment, the people’s attention was directed to what was wrong, toward each way that things were getting worse. And, of course, they spent little time focused on what progress was being made, on the severity of the economic and national political headwinds that we have and continue to face, or on how we are recovering from a recession we did not cause and could not correct.
The sudden closure of the HOVENSA refinery wiped out so much of the progress we have been making, much of the increase in revenues and economic promise washed away. And many moved away. And many lost income. And many lost heart, both on St. Croix and on St. Thomas and St. John where the litany of woes was fanned as if this negativism would somehow make anything better. Well it hasn’t, and it won’t.
I am not blind to how bad things are. But I cannot dwell only the negative, for as difficult as things might be, I see the hope, the opportunities that are there, and the future that is possible.
And I know something else. I know that but for the HOVENSA shutdown and its effects, we were starting to turn the economic corner and see again the glow of possible prosperity. Each week, I get to meet individuals who want to be here and to invest here. I see the signs of hope: I meet with individuals who see the opportunities around us and are seizing the moment to realize this potential; and investors who continue to show faith in our economy. My real pain and disappointment comes because so many of our people have been blinded to these same opportunities by the negative smokescreens and worse of too many of our politicians that they believe things are so bad or better some place else. It is so unfortunate, and tears us all down. With all that we have been through, all that we will go through and all that is yet to come; I see the beauty, the potential of our home and especially of our people.
I am speaking to you now out of my deep concern and disappointment over the current state of non-action and indecisiveness in which we now find ourselves. At a moment when we must act, when we must make some decisions critical to our future, our politics have been rendered immobile. Our senators will not act.
After a year of negotiating with HOVENSA following the closure of the refinery, we reached an agreement that put all of our goals in sight.
It ensured that the HOVENSA workers got paid, that we would continue to have access to a discounted fuel supply for WAPA and gasoline retailers, and that a new owner would be sought out who would reopen the refinery based upon a new agreement with the government, to be ratified by the legislature, that would be subject to the financial and environmental terms that we deem to be acceptable.
This opportunity to restore the economy of St. Croix and revenues of the government was rejected by the Senate, even as no alternative path to achieve these outcomes was even hinted at.
Even as I was deeply disappointed by both the attitude and the comments of the majority of the Legislature as they rejected an agreement that offered the potential to put hundreds upon hundreds of residents back to work and pay millions of dollars into our treasury, I went back to all the senators and gathered up their questions and concerns, and in order to push the process forward I assured them in each case of the clarifications to the proposed agreement that would address those concerns in a binding way.
At this point, I believe that a majority of the Senate now understand the devastating consequences of the rejection of the proposed agreement; devastating for our people, for our government and for our entire community. It has and will continue to mean high unemployment and economic decline on St. Croix as jobs and economic activity that might have come back are lost for good. And it has and will continue to mean that each of those areas of essential public spending and investment on each of our islands--on St. Thomas and St. John, as well as on St. Croix--in education and healthcare and public safety and other critical areas, that were funded by the revenues and incomes that the oil refinery created will be cut back for years to come.
Now, in addition to finding a path forward on the refinery, the Senate must complete its work and address the Fiscal Year 2014 budget gap. The recent decision by the U.S. Department of the Interior to only advance matching funds for the coming year at a lower cover-over rate versus its past practice has only deepened the hole.
But, even as many have reacted with shock at this action by Interior, none should be too surprised. The problems at the federal level with budget sequestration, the looming possibility of a federal government shut-down, and its own increasingly toxic political environment all call for caution. Interior knows that it can always reduce any excess payment made to the territory from future rum revenues. But why would Interior advance us funds if it has doubts that the tax extender legislation will pass and continue the existing rate of $13.25 per proof gallon.
Because if this rate is not continued, Interior will have to deduct the excess funds they advanced a year from now when our fiscal situation will only be worse. But more than this, why should Interior do so when they know that our senators have not even acted to let us help ourselves?
Of course, I will try to get Interior to reverse their decision, but we live in a transparent era, when each of our actions is seen by the world at large. If we decline to fix our own fiscal situation--if the Senate persists in blocking the reopening of the refinery with all of the economic and fiscal repercussions, if we continue to avoid addressing our pension system’s unfunded liability, if the Senate continues to pursue tax reduction schemes that will only make our problems worse--it should not be surprising that Interior would want to avoid exacerbating our fiscal problems by giving us more money now that would only enable us to avoid tackling our problems for one more year.
It is now the time for us to wake-up to reality. And the reality is simple and it is stark. Our governmental revenues are down 23% from pre-recession levels, and with the shutdown of the refinery there are 8,000 fewer people employed than were in 2007, a decline of 16%. Yet there remain people who believe that little should change, that Government should still do everything it has done. That is simply not possible.
In this new reality, we have two choices before us: raise revenues by growing the private sector meaningfully and rapidly, or reduce government expenses, which at this point can only be achieved in a meaningful way by reducing the number of employees. The choice is not raise taxes or fire people, it is grow our economic base or fire people. Raising taxes will not work because it will only chase away those businesses that are here, so gross receipts taxes will not rise because there will be less business, nor will income taxes as there will be less income.
There is nothing new in this. Those who have listened to me over the years have heard this all before. We have less money than we once had, and that leaves us with few choices. A year ago my words were little different from today, but I repeat them because year after year, the Legislature has refused to grasp the nettle and act. The tragedy of this moment is that this Senate indeed had a choice they could have made that would have changed our future for the better, but despite having no better alternative to suggest, no other path for our people’s future, they still could not let us move forward.
I go to work every day -- seven days a week -- and will not lose hope or faith in our future. But I have lost patience with those who will not recognize what must be done and then do it. I have yet to get a meaningful suggestion from any member of the Senate when I have repeatedly asked them what alternative they would propose that could get as many jobs in place as quickly as getting the refinery reopened. I quite frankly told them it is too easy for them to make their lofty pronouncements and continue to stir the pot while the economy continues to spiral downward because each of them receive a paycheck every two weeks, while many in our community do not and are waiting for us to ensure that they do.
When the Department of the Interior informed us of the reduction of the cover-over advance, and that we should expect a $71 million dollar reduction, what did the Senate do? It suspended budget hearings. The solution is quite straightforward. Not necessarily easy, but necessary: you must either raise revenues, cut expenditures or do some combination of both. There is no more posturing in this time of decision-making, and contrary to the wishes of some, we cannot defer the decisions to a chief financial officer or some federal overseer. It is the Legislature’s legal and moral obligation to pass a balanced budget.
This budget hole was partly dug by their past inactions, their past votes, and their unwillingness to deal with the reality that for too long has been right in front of us all. They have long known of the financial situation and this body has not passed one single revenue-raising measure. They have, however, found the energy to criticize me and my Financial Team but yet not offered any alternatives. They are not auditors, they are legislators. We don’t need press releases on what should be done before we have a chance to talk and discuss. I have a job to do and I shall do mine; we need them to do theirs.
Here is what we need to do. It is time for the Legislature to ratify the Fourth Amendment to the HOVENSA agreement and get St. Croix’s economy going again. If they have an alternative that will give us the same level of economic boost, then propose it, let’s discuss it and if it promises to do what they say, I’ll approve it. But they and I each know well that there is none. It is time to start working with business, and expressing some greater understanding of the challenges that businesses face in doing business here. Let’s move on the needs expressed by the trustees of the Government Employees Retirement System and the recommendations of the pension reform task force. Let’s pass the Fiscal Year 2014 budget on time so that we can deal with all the other issues that confront us.
It is time that we do what must be done.
This is Governor de Jongh and I thank you for taking the time to listen.

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Posted : September 25, 2013 1:23 pm
LiquidFluoride
(@LiquidFluoride)
Trusted Member

I heard on the radio lastnight that someone was appealing to the POTUS re: hovensa fuel storage... saying it was a matter of national defense & that the DOD, DOE & a few other 3 letter agencies should get together and meet on it....

wow... talk about ego at play, just because they want to charge duty taxes on fuel.. greedy bastages...

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Posted : September 25, 2013 1:29 pm
Yearasta
(@Yearasta)
Trusted Member

YUP that's our saving grace....let put up roadblocks everywhere....because we want we want we want...like you said "greedy bastages"

Then write a letter (so cliche) to the President to save us....

Can anyone draw? we need a political cartoon of 11 senators holding a bone looking at the reflection of a bigger bone in the waters off the F'sted pier....

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Posted : September 25, 2013 1:36 pm
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