St. Croix has been decimated by inattention from the "planners" who got the entire government into the current mess, which they call a "shortfall." It's more like a "longfall," or a "freefall" without a bungee cord. The latest solution from the planners, who have hung on from administration to administration, seems to be going on talk shows en masse and repeating the same tired, old message and "logic" in order to hog the time so that concerned citizens cannot get a questioning word in edgewise.
It appears that there is another "sword of Damn Politicians" from another Virgin Island slashing at the bread and butter of St. Croix. It is not enough to take St. Croix's rum revenues to finance the territory's poorly planned bond sales for current expenses, etc., as well as the funds from St. Croix's Hovensa. They now are considering taxing St. Croix's bread and butter employer, Hovensa, 20 cents a barrel for imported crude oil.
Politicians are not dealing here with just the Virgin Islands, not to mention just St. Croix; they are dealing with a Caribbean nation, Venezuela (which has troubles of its own). Have they examined any of the consequences of doing that? Well, Hovensa depends for its profitability upon the consistent and nearby source of crude. If Venezuela finds it less profitable to sell its oil to its co-owned Hovensa, then its oil will find another market, and Hovensa will become even less profitable still, generating even less taxes.
Is someone trying to drive St. Croix into the sea? It already has between 14 and 20 percent unemployment. Attacking its main source of employment will aggravate this problem even further. What next? Do you suppose they will impose a 20-cents-a-gallon tax on imported molasses, kill another source of St. Croix employment, and in the "shortfall" lose another source of income, forcing hundreds of our 2003 St. Croix high school graduates to go elsewhere to earn their bread and butter?
Robert V. Vaughn
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