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Wednesday, July 17, 2024


May 11, 2001 — Gov. Charles Turnbull has finished three days of lobbying Congress to ensure that the territory continues to receive increased levels of rum tax revenue.
Turnbull met with key Congressional leaders over the last week, including Sen. Tom Daschle, the highest ranking Democrat in the Senate and Sen. Charles Grassley, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, to increase the amount of federal rum excise taxes returned to the Virgin Islands. The governor also lobbied Congress to cancel the territory’s $50-million Hurricane Hugo disaster loan.
In 1999, former President Bill Clinton signed legislation that increased the rum tax rebate to the territory from $10.50 to $13.25 per proof gallon through December 2001. Turnbull was lobbying to have the rebate remain at the current price permanently. The increase has meant $20 million a year into the V.I. treasury. For 2000, the V.I. government received a total of $75 million in rum taxes.
Turnbull said at least two representatives, including Charles Rangel of New York, have agreed to introduce legislation in the next few weeks making the increase in the rum tax formula permanent.
Turnbull also said progress was made to have the federal government forgive $46 million in disaster loans. In order to complete the process, Congress must appropriate $3.5 million to cover the cost of a new loan and its interest.
"I am pleased to report that during my meetings . . . we have picked up important support for this critical appropriation," Turnbull said.

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