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Sen. Kurt Vialet chairs the Senate Finance Committee hearing Thursday. (Photo by Barry Leerdam for the USVI Legislature)

Finance Committee Moves 31 Appropriation Bills

The Senate Finance Committee on Thursday moved 31 bills involving the appropriation of money and fiscal year budgets for government entities to the Rules and Judiciary Committee. The action took two hours.

Chief Justice: Backlogged Court Cases May Soon Become a Thing of the Past

V.I. Supreme Court Chief Justice Rhys Hodge told the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday that efforts are being made to reduce the extensive backlog of court cases by utilizing an electronic filing system and furthering what he calls “administration unification” of the Supreme and Superior Courts, part of a law passed in July 2016.
From left, USVI Housing Finance Authority Chief Operating Officer Darin Richardson, Executive Director Daryl Griffith, and Chief Financial Officer Valdez Shelford testify before the Senate Finance Committee. (Photo by Barry Leerdam, USVI Legislature)

USVI Has Housing Crisis, HFA Head Tells Senators

Lawmakers and administration officials agreed that housing in the U.S. Virgin Islands is in crisis, while talking Tuesday during the Senate's Committee on Finance hearing on the the proposed fiscal year 2020 budget for the Virgin Islands Housing Finance Authority.
Port Authority board members and staff view presentation on the agency’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget on Tuesday. (Source photo by Judi Shimel)

VIPA Board Told To Expect Rising Revenues

Members of the Port Authority Governing Board were given an overview of the agency’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget on Tuesday when they convened a special meeting to complete the agenda of the regular, monthly meeting held July 23.
George Dudley testifies before the Senate Finance Committee. (Barry Leerdam, USVI Legislature)

Bill Seeks to Expand Hotel Development Act

A bill to amend the USVI's Hotel Development Act, allowing hotels that suffered storm damage to use the financial tools to help finance their recovery, was unanimously approved by the Senate Finance Committee.
IRB Director Joel Lee testifies before the Senate Finance Committee about his department's budget Tuesday. (Photo by Barry Leerman for the V.I. Legislature)

Bureau of Internal Revenue Says There’s No Plan B if Excise Tax Appeal Loses

Internal Revenue Bureau Director Joel Lee told lawmakers Tuesday that if the District Court rules against the government’s appeal to reinstate excise taxes, the bureau has no backup plan in the face of roughly $45 million in tax collection losses each year.
Juan F. Luis Hospital in pre-hurricane file photo. JFL was badly damaged by Hurricane Maria.

JFL Execs Say Crime, Abandoned Patients Cost Hospital

Tens of millions of dollars in uncompensated care continues to strain the budget of St. Croix's Juan F. Luis Hospital, JFL officials told lawmakers Tuesday, with violent crime-related injuries and long-term boarders incurring some of the higher-cost, unpaid medical services.
Budget Director Jenifer O’Neal testifies Tuesday. (Photo by Barry Leerdam for the USVI Legislature)

Bryan’s Finance Team Presents Budget with Half a Billion in Cuts

Gov. Albert Bryan Jr.'s administration is planning about 30 percent cuts in expenditures for Fiscal Year 2020, the governor’s finance team told lawmakers Tuesday, presenting a reduction of more than half a billion dollars compared with the Fiscal Year 2019 budget.
Senate President Myron Jackson (D-STT) speaks at Friday's Committee of the Whole hearing. (V.I. Legislature photo by Barry Leerdam)

V.I. Budget Director: Storms May Have Blown $325 Million Hole in 2018 Budget

Along with billions of dollars in damage to U.S. Virgin Islands hospitals, schools, homes and more, the loss of tourism due to the storm may balloon the V.I. government's deficit, Budget Director Nellon Bowry told the Legislature Friday.

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