Congress could act to help ease the budget pain in the USVI. For example, it could reform Medicare and Medicaid to bring as much as an extra $100 million to the USVI every year. Whether it will act is the question.
The USVI faces a host of economic problems made significantly worse by the impact of two hurricanes. Highlighting the facts is not just wallowing in doom and gloom, but an important part of facing them and making wise decisions.
If the V.I. government and Congress do not step up and take difficult, serious steps quickly, the unfilled budget shortfalls will play out painfully and chaotically.
Early in 2017, the U.S. Virgin Islands was facing massive structural deficits, fast-rising debt, multiple ratings downgrades, an inability to borrow and no clear path to solvency. Hurricanes Irma and Maria have made the situation dramatically worse.
With the U.S. Virgin Islands caught in a straitjacket of a budget crisis, there are things the U.S. Congress could do to help, starting with the funds the territory receives for rum production.
Congress could do several things which would quickly eliminate the territory's budgetary problems.
One potential revenue source for helping the government dig out from under its budget crisis is already here and ubiquitous – Cannabis. While opposition remains, the tide of public opinion is swinging towards legalization.
As the territory struggles with its budget crisis, Gov. Kenneth Mapp and members of the Legislature have talked about possibly consolidating some government agencies...
The largest single department in the V.I. budget is Education, which means it's also got the biggest, most complicated budget. That makes searching for budget savings a daunting task.
Many government departments have been plagued with excess overtime, persisting over many years. More than one audit has found a chronic lack of documentation to prove the overtime work actually happened.
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