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Charlotte Amalie
Saturday, June 22, 2024


May 30, 2003 – Members of the 25th Legislature are looking at a busy week ahead even though only one committee meeting is scheduled. That one meeting, on Thursday, is of the Finance Committee, and its focus will be wholly on what to do about the territory's fiscal crisis.
Sen. Douglas Canton, majority leader, and Sen. Raymond "Usie" Richards, minority leader, said in a joint release that the two blocs have pledged to work together "to review and assess the merit" of the six bills submitted by governor last week to address the financial crunch.
The 18 pages worth of bills, delivered to the Legislature late on the night of May 20, constituted the agenda of the special session called by Gov. Charles W. Turnbull for May 22. At the end of that 11-hour session, the Senate voted to send all of the measures to the Finance Committee, where they would have been taken up in the first place, had the governor submitted them in the normal manner instead of calling a special session.
"All senators, majority and minority members, are committed to meeting from now through June 5th to discuss, propose and strategize solutions for the critical state of government revenues vis à vis expenditures," Canton said in the release issued Thursday.
Saying that projected budget shortfalls have "reached crisis proportions," he called on his colleagues to "join together to structure a plan which is two-fold — a remedy to quickly address the immediate problem and a review of the government's operations with an eye to averting any such state of disaster in the future."
Richards as leader of the Minority Caucus had tried from January to get Senate President David Jones to call a Committee of the Whole meeting to take testimony from administration financial officials in an effort to learn just how serious the situation was. Richards said in the release that addressing the territory's financial status "requires the participation and working together of all members of the 25th Legislature to plan for our fiscal recovery."
Turnbull's borrow, tax and spend proposals. notable for an absence of reductions in government costs, have been met with hostility the by business community and prominent political leaders, including Delegate Donna M. Christensen and the Finance Committee chair, Sen. Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg. For a summary of what the governor has proposed, see "Outline of bills submitted to special session".

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