Nov. 16, 2004 – Gov. Charles W. Turnbull announced that he approved six budget bills passed by the 25th Legislature but vetoed two sections.
In a letter to Sen. President David Jones, Turnbull wrote, "Mr. President, while I wholeheartedly support the negotiated salary increases for unionized government employees, I cannot in good conscience approve this item at this time knowing full well that the money is not there."
He added that when the bill was passed, "Our Economic Development Commission program was not threatened, as it is now, with the impact of the tax law changes enacted as part of the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004. The new tax law has the potential to cause substantial damage to the EDC program and result in significant revenue losses which could threaten the fiscal stability of the government. While we do not yet know the total impact on our economy, our preliminary estimates suggest that our economy could possibly lose between 350 to 600 jobs and $42 to $63 million in tax revenue in fiscal year 2005. "
Turnbull also wrote that he was vetoing the section concerning the Legislature's budget. He wrote, "During this period of limited revenues, I could not bring myself to approve an increase in the Legislature's budget. This is particularly true in light of the fact that the executive budget that serves the vast majority of the residents of the Virgin Islands has been cut by the Legislature."
These six budget bills comprise the General Fund budget for the government of the Virgin Islands for 2005. The bills provide funding for all executive branch departments including Education, Health, Police, Human Services, Public Works, as well as for the University of the Virgin Islands, the Legislature, the Territorial Court, Territorial Public Defender's Office and WTJX Public Television system.
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