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Monday, November 28, 2022
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TEACHERS SEEK ANSWERS ON PROSSER DEAL

The St. Thomas-St. John Federation of Teachers wants specific answers from the Turnbull administration on the Prosser-V.I. land-for-tax-breaks deal.
Union president Glen Smith said, "During a meeting at Government House with labor leaders, it was revealed that the tax holiday Mr. Prosser (wants) is estimated at approximately $210 million. This estimate is based on current value without any adjustments for compounded interest, inflation or projected tax increases."
Smith reiterated that the majority of labor leaders have indicated their ranks are not interested in swapping land for retroactive pay.
"The Prosser plan must be rejected and renegotiated to provide a healthy balance which will benefit both sides," he said.
The union — one of many that falls under the umbrella of the Central Labor Council — issued a release Tuesday afternoon asking for specific answers on the proposal, which has never been publicly discussed by the Turnbull-James administration.
Teachers union representatives met Monday with the governor and his advisers and, along with all the other labor representatives there, rejected the Prosser deal. (See earlier stories under Local News.)
Here is a list of what the AFT wants to know:
— What are the beginning and completion dates for each project?
— How much monies will the government have to spend once these projects are completed and turned over to the territory? Will additional employees have to be hired? What about electricity, water and maintenance costs?
— Does the government have available land on St. Thomas/St. John to swap for retroactive wages?
— Will Prosser agree, in writing, to purchase all construction supplies and materials from local vendors?
— Will Prosser hire all local contractors to build these projects?
— Are negotiations final? Who served as government members of the negotiating team?
— How much estimated revenue will be generated (placed into the territorial treasury) on an annual basis for the next 30 years?
— How much government revenue will be forfeited in lieu of benefits and tax exemptions under the Prosser plan?
— Is Prosser in danger of losing his share of the telecommunications industry to his competitors?
— What is the proposed interest rate on home mortgages which will be provided to landowners under the Prosser plan?
— What will be the average cost for a three-bedroom home?
— Will construction of these projects mean the importation of outside labor which has the awesome potential to burden our fragile socioeconomic and political structure?
— Will any of the capital required to fund these projects be placed into the Government Development Bank?
— Can the V.I. government afford to provide 100% tax exemption for yet another corporation?
— How much of the AT&T settlement shall be earmarked for the Union Arbitration Award and Increment Fund? When shall these monies be deposited into said fund?
— Health insurance issue?
— Strategy: We oppose/criticize while you renegotiate.

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