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HomeNewsArchivesGov. Turnbull Signs EDC Reform Bill Into Law

Gov. Turnbull Signs EDC Reform Bill Into Law

Aug. 15, 2005 — Joining efforts to jumpstart the territory’s economy, Gov. Charles W. Turnbull signed into law this week bills designed to create reform within the Economic Development Commission and to promote the growth of small businesses within the community.
The EDC Reform Bill, passed by the Senate in early July, will effectively help to close loopholes within the existing law, therefore protecting against any future abuse of the system (See "EDC Reform Bill Clears Committee".) Additionally, the EDC law will:
-create opportunities for residents who want to open a business and receive higher amounts of EDC benefits;
-implement a tier system in order to improve qualifications for loans;
-enhance the opportunity for EDC beneficiaries to make loans to others;
-and reduces application and compliance fees for small businesses in order to encourage local entrepreneurs to seek EDC benefits.
"This legislation will provide our Economic Development Commission with necessary changes designed to attract legitimate and fruitful businesses to establish their operations here in the territory," Turnbull wrote in an August 11 release. "This will result in jobs for our citizens and revenue for the Territorial Government’s treasury, while at the same time meeting the concerns of the U.S. Department of the Treasury."
Turnbull did add, however, that there is one further loophole in the bill that requires additional consideration. Responding to information received from the Internal Revenue Bureau, Turnbull said that he will also be introducing a bill to require that EDC beneficiaries establishing other single-owner entities in the territory, report these new entities to the EDC for approval.
Without this clarification, Turnbull added that IRB will have difficulty identifying the true owners of businesses receiving EDC benefits, and will subsequently be hindered in granting tax exemptions to EDC applicants.
Turnbull also approved the implementation of the Small Business Incubators Act, a measure which specifically nurtures fledgling businesses and helps get them on their feet. (See "Bill to Help Small Businesses Receives Unanimous Approval in Committee".)
Also signed into law this week was a bill calling for 60 acres of Water Island property to be transferred to the V.I. Housing Finance Authority for the development of affordable housing units, and another bill to increase fines for abandoned vehicles and the operation of illegal auto repair businesses.
"This bill establishes a minimum penalty of $1,000 [for both offenses]…abandoned vehicles have been found in guts, have impeded traffic by blocking roadways, and are dumped in bushes creating a health hazard," Turnbull said. "In addition, many illegal auto repair shops have sprung up in residential areas creating traffic congestion, noise pollution, and havens for drug transactions."
Turnbull added that increased fines will help to solve such problems, and facilitate "drastic" improvements within the community.
A bill to appropriate $500,000 for the Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged Special Fund was also passed in hopes of helping to alleviate the high costs of medicine for elderly residents. "We must ensure that our elderly are taken care of and that they continue to receive the medical attention and care they so desperately need," Turnbull wrote. (See "Senate Passes Drugs for the Elderly, Bigger Fines for Car Dumping".)
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