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Governor's Team Plans for Economic Stimulus

Jan. 29, 2009 – The day after the U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of the new federal economic stimulus package, local officials gathered at Government House to discuss the bill and the requirements for spending any funding slated for the territory.
Present at the meeting were Gov. John deJongh Jr., Lieutenant Governor Gregory R. Francis , selected cabinet members and representatives from the government’s Washington team, along with Delegate Donna Christensen and grant administrators of various local departments and agencies. DeJongh has said that economic stimulus money awarded to the territory would be put towards projects that would be ready to go either 180 days or 18 months after the stimulus bill is signed into law. (See “DeJongh Upbeat on V.I. Stake In Stimulus Plan.”
“My administration is working closely with the Congressional leadership to fine-tune the details of the stimulus bill as it moves forward in the Senate and ultimately in conference,” deJongh said Thursday. “The bill is moving quickly and we are preparing now to be able to take advantage of the significant funding opportunities that will become available. Because many of the provisions in the bill have strict deadlines, we must be prepared to spend allocated monies efficiently as well as effectively.”
The House version of the bill also includes a provision that would reimburse the territory for any revenue losses coming out of tax cuts factored in for middle class and working families, according to Government House news release.
“The reimbursement provision alone will be worth a total of $50-$60 million for the Virgin Islands over the next two years, while providing individual taxpayers a tax cut of $500 a year and $1,000 for couples,” the governor said.
Without the provision, the Virgin Islands would be forced to absorb the loss from the tax cuts.
The bill is expected to make tens of millions of dollars available for transportation and traditional infrastructure projects, as well as for social programs, health care, technology, school repairs, broadband development and energy-efficient projects, according to the release.

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