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Cruz Bay
Saturday, July 20, 2024


On a vote of 12 to 3, Gov. Charles W. Turnbull's revised borrowing bill was passed by the Legislature Tuesday.
The bill passed only after an amendment was added authorizing the Public Finance Authority to issue up to $300 million instead of the requested $130 million in bonds to fund a working capital loan.
Proponents of the amendment believe the larger borrowing will allow for measures to stimulate the economy, including paying past-due income tax refunds, paying vendors the government owes and funding a retirement incentive plan.
The legislators shot down the original two-tier bill in a late-night session Oct. 1. In that vote, the bill failed on a 7-7 vote.
The administration has maintained all along that without the authority to borrow money, it would be unable to meet payroll starting in November.
On Tuesday, Paulette Rabsatt, deputy assistant to the governor on fiscal policy, said the government was facing a $39 million shortfall by Nov. 18.
The bill authorizes the government to issue bonds to borrow working capital, which is conditional on a bill before Congress to change the Organic Act.
The revised bill submitted by Turnbull for consideration at Tuesday's special session of the Legislature calls for a one-step bond structure as opposed to the more costly and complicated two-step process of the earlier bill.
Voting yes on the amended bill were Sens. Gregory Bennerson, Lorraine Berry, Donald "Ducks" Cole, Roosevelt David, V. Anne Golden, Judy Gomez, George Goodwin, Norman Jn Baptiste, David Jones, Almando "Rocky" Liburd, Allie "Allison" Petrus and Vargrave Richards. Voting no were Sens. Adelbert M. "Bert" Bryan, Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg and Alicia "Chucky" Hansen.
Rabsatt indicated that the administration was confident Congress would approve the pending Organic Act change Tuesday. As of publication, it had not passed.
If Congress does not pass the bill on Tuesday, it must go back to committee on Wednesday for mark-up and then back to the floor of the Senate for a vote, according to a spokesperson in Delegate Donna Christian-Christensen's Washington office.

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