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Gov. Mapp Submits Amended Budget … Mosler Says Limetree Deal Will Cost Us ‘Hundreds of Millions’

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CHARLOTTE AMALIE – New revenues to help fund critical services will be available in Fiscal Year 2019 as a result of the Virgin Islands government’s recent agreement to resume oil refining on St. Croix, Government House said.

Governor Kenneth Mapp submitted an amended budget to the Virgin Islands Legislature on Friday addressing the more than $38 million in additional revenues anticipated from the deal struck with ArcLight Capital, the parent company of Limetree Bay Terminals.

The original budget was submitted in May, prior to the July finalization of the Government’s agreement with ArcLight. Increased government revenues represent a sign of continued positive economic growth and the expanded budget allows the territory to further invest in its infrastructure and workforce, the Governor said.

“As you are aware, and Limetree Bay has reconfirmed, its parent, ArcLight Capital LLC, is investing over $1.4 billion in the restart of the refining facility on St. Croix over the next 17 months,” Mapp said. “We estimate from that investment the government will receive over $38 million of new revenues during FY 2019. These revenues will come from payroll and other taxes and from the direct spend on the refinery reconstruction,” the governor wrote in his letter to Senate President Myron Jackson. “The amended spending plan I am submitting to you today reflects additional distribution of resources to each branch of government, the University of the Virgin Islands and our partners in the nonprofit community.”

But Independent candidate for governor Warren Mosler has called the Mapp-Limetree Bay deal a “payday loan” and says the chief executive has sacrificed the territory’s long-term financial future for enough short term “fast cash” to make government payroll up until the elections and a possible run-off election.

“Our governor desperately needed fast cash before the election,” Mosler says in a radio spot. “So he got Limetree to pay $30 million dollars for land and houses — and $40 million dollars in cash by pre-paying taxes. In return, we have to pay back the $40 million and cut their (Limetree Bay Terminals LLC) tax rates in half, costing us hundreds of millions of future tax revenue.”

In his letter to the Senate President, the governor highlighted the need to provide additional afterschool programs and to sustain and allow for public sector salary increases. He also emphasized his ongoing concern for the plight of the territory’s farmers, many of whom were not given adequate federal assistance to recover from their hurricane losses.

Mapp has proposed that $4 million be directed to pay the territory’s waste haulers as Senators have not moved on the legislation he sent down earlier this summer that would permit the Virgin Islands Waste Management Authority (VIWMA) to pay its vendors.

“No action by the Senate on this request has yet occurred,” the Governor stated. “The account payables at VIWMA have become dire. I urge the Senate to act now on my proposals to address VIWMA’s critical needs.”

The amended FY 2019 spending plan also proposes:

  •  $1.1 million increase in support for local nonprofit organizations.
  • $4.75 million for the Judicial and Legislative branches.
  • $6.4 million to sustain a portion of the increases in wages established under Executive Orders 483-2018 and 484-2018.
  • $3.5 million for Workmen’s Compensation Fund and the Unemployment Insurance Fund.
  •  $1 million for “critical service employees” at the Department of Health.
  • $1.5 million to fund capital improvements associated with the relocation of the Department of Planning and Natural Resources.
  •  $1 million for personnel and engineers at the Department of Public Works in order to expedite the massive roadway improvement initiative now underway.
  •  $1.23 million to pay vendors under the Department of Human Services.

Mapp said his financial team was available to answer Senators’ questions about the amended budget and that his Administration remained committed to working with the Legislature and the private sector.

To hear Warren Mosler’s view of the Mapp-Limetree Bay deal, please press play below:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_uw3TKux24yZFBUZ0FiM0hFbEhHVVMza01jMzBmSThNbzc0/view

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

1 Comment

  1. afterwhilecrocodile
    August 25, 2018 at 11:58 PM — Reply

    So, the WAPA bill that the VI government owes to the tune of 40 million still goes unpaid thanks to the governor who wants to be re-elected??? Seriously, a vote of no confidence in his poor judgement in handling the government s financial affairs……. No one should vote for him, the people are screwed with a $40 million dollar electric bill which BTW is the tip of the iceberg……

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