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malone to seek feds help in financial & economic matters in D.c.
SENATOR a primary co-sponsor of a resolution to petition congress
(Charlotte Amalie, U.S. Virgin Islands, September 4, 2003) Yesterday during the 25th Legislature's General Session, Legislative Secretary, Senator Shawn-Michael Malone, placed on the record the issues he plans to address on his trip at the 2003 Investment Development Conference in Washington D.C. sponsored by the United States Department of Interior.
"I am familiar enough with Washington D.C. and some of the players and I intend to utilize my time at the conference engaging Interior and other Federal officials about several policies that are having an adverse impact on the Territory's economy and finances," Senator Malone said.
"Among the issues I intend to look into is the funding for unfunded federal mandates such as the infamous "No Child Left Behind Act," Earned Income Credit, Child Tax Credit, the decrease in withholding tax rates, dividends and capital gains most of which are a part of President Bush's Tax Relief Act which has placed an undue burden of $65.4 million dollars on the General Fund expenditures of the Virgin Islands Government," Senator Malone explained.
In addition to pressing for funding, or perhaps exclusion from unfunded Federal mandates, Senator Malone intends to engage in dialogue centered on revoking the 'Six-Pack Rule", forgiveness of the Hurricane Marilyn FEMA loan, Federal assistance with refinancing our long term debt and infrastructure projects. "These are the issues that continue to affect our General Fund and as Legislative Secretary, I believe that this is the perfect opportunity to join my colleagues, together with policy-makers in Washington, to attempt to influence federal officials to support these proposals. "This is why I am a primary co-sponsor of a recently passed resolution petitioning Federal officials to fund parts of the 2003 Bush Tax Cuts that leaves us in a financial quandary," Senator Malone said.
Additionally, the Six-Pack Rule has literally stifled our once lucrative $120 million dollar Marine Industry and with the advent of the Yacht Haven project. I wrote the V.I. Delegate on resurrecting this issue on May 6, 2003 and I am sure she agrees with the rational behind seeking such an exemption at this time. It is my belief that when I return from Washington DC, at minimum, President Bush and his chief policy people will be aware of the dire economic situation we are in and the ill effects of unfunded mandates placed on the Virgin Islands and other territories," Senator Malone continued.
Other opportunities the Senator plans to take advantage of are in the areas being addressed in the various sessions of the conference. The sessions the Senator has registered to be a part of include:
1. Preserving America Tourism (there is over $66 million dollars available from the US Commerce Department for preserving cultural and heritage treasures in the nation, including the territories),
2. Federal assistance for infrastructure projects
3. Federal financing programs for small businesses and governments
4. Education Partnering (opportunities to develop private vocational schools, advanced technology training academies and specialized workforce training).
5. SBA Procurement and 8A Certification opportunities.
6. Telecommunications (the V.I. has one of the best telecommunication hubs in the world and we should be looking at ways to maximize this powerful economic infrastructure I like to call a "sleeping giant.")
7. Waste Management (opportunities to address these dire problems in the VI will be discussed).

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