June 30, 2005 – If the V.I. Economic Development Commission program goes down the tubes, it won't be due to a lack of meetings. Delegate Donna Christensen met with Dennis Hastert, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Thursday.
Christensen said in a press release, "The Speaker pledged to work with the Treasury Department and to be helpful as we offer technical amendments that could provide a fix to the problem."
Gov. Charles Turnbull meet with members of the Bush administration and U.S. Congress in Washington, D.C. two weeks ago. (See "Turnbull Reports Progress on EDC While in D.C."). There have also been numerous reports of V.I. business people holding meetings with federal officials.
The Treasury Department is holding a public hearing on new regulations governing the EDC program on July 21. Many Virgin Islanders think those regulations could have serious detrimental effects on the program,
(See "Lawyer Says EDC Companies Must Prepare for Battle").
Christensen said, "The Speaker invited me to meet with him today to discuss the fine points of the EDC program – why it was important to our economy and the initiatives being pushed by the territory to lessen the restrictions imposed by the U.S. Treasury Department."
She continued, "The Speaker said that he would not do anything without first speaking with me, and getting my input and opinion on what needed to be done to fix it."
The press release said the pair discussed in particular, allowing current EDC beneficiaries to be grand fathered and allowed to operate under the old rules, to lessen the residency requirements and to allow some U.S. income to qualify under the program.
Christensen concluded, "I am hopeful that with his involvement, we can see positive movement on the EDC issue in the very near future."
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