Sept. 8, 2003 – With four of the Senate Finance Committee's seven members in Washington, D.C., for an Interior Department conference, its chair, Sen. Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg, adjourned Monday's scheduled meeting for lack of a quorum.
The four committee members — Sens. Roosevelt David, Louis Hill, Shawn-Michael Malone and Luther Renee — are attending the Interior's 2003 Investment Development Conference being hosted by the Office of Insular Affairs for the U.S. territories. Hill and Renee are among the scheduled speakers. (See "V.I. a major player in investment conference".)
Donastorg said he is anxious to hold the meeting, which addresses 13 government leases to farmers, another for a business and three federal grant applications.
"Some of these farmers have been waiting 10 years for their leases," Donastorg said Monday, and "the federal grants need to be expedited." He said he hopes to squeeze in the meeting before the end of the month. "We are looking for the next feasible date," he said.
The Finance Committee calendar is busy this month, with two Fiscal Year 2004 budget overviews rescheduled for Sept. 23 and 24 after having been postponed from August at Gov. Charles W. Turnbull's request so that he could submit his proposed budget beforehand. After that, the committee still must mark up the budget and submit it to the full Senate for consideration.
"We are attempting to analyze the budget and squeeze in a date" for Monday's postponed hearing, Donastorg said. He said the FY2004 budget should go to the full Senate the first or second week of October. "Hopefully the first week," he said. "I would do it on the first."
The FY 2003 budget expires Sept. 30. If the new one for FY 2004 has not been enacted by that time, the FY2003 budget will remain in effect until the new one is approved. Most of the governor's proposed funding levels represent reductions from this year's appropriations.
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