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Cruz Bay
Tuesday, October 4, 2022


It is absolutely amazing that the 22nd Legislature, under the leadership of Sen. Lorraine L. Berry, granted $256,000 worth of raises a year to 152 central staff employees in October when senators knew our debt was topping $1 billion.
No wonder this territory is in fiscal trouble. Its top officials are in fiscal denial.
If the people who control our purse strings don't understand the depths of our financial crisis and don't demonstrate leadership-by-example, how can we have any hope that the rest of the community will respond appropriately to our dire situation?
We do not begrudge the legislative employees the higher rates of pay. No doubt they deserved those raises. But that is not the point. The point is that this government cannot afford to pay the employees already on its payroll at their existing rates of pay, much less at higher salaries — and if anyone needs proof, peek back to last Thursday when the government didn't have enough money to meet its $13 million biweekly payroll.
Of course, the government's answer was to borrow more money — from funds, from banks, from wherever — rather than come up with a serious, comprehensive plan to tighten our belts once and for all, painful as that might be. But that is another story.
For now, we are appalled at the news that the 22nd Legislature — which, like its predecessors, enjoyed a hugely bloated budget to begin with — showed such fiscal irresponsibility as to grant raises to anyone.
If we had any semblance of leadership from our elected officials, they would lead the way by slashing every ounce of fat from every agency's budget, including reducing their own pay and eliminating all double-dipping throughout government, including some of their own members who enjoy generous salaries plus pensions.
But, alas, these are the people who have helped to bring us to the position we're in today. It's just sad that their actions will make the day of reckoning so much harder when it does come.

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