After months of hearings on the executive branch budget, the Legislature passed its own Fiscal Year 2000 budget as a lump sum of $14.3 million.
That figure represents a reduction of $582,230 from the FY ‘99 budget of $14.88 million, Senate President Vargrave Richards said in a transmittal letter to his colleagues.
The bulk of it – more than $13 million – is for salaries and fringe benefits.
The breakdown of expenditures was not part of the floor discussion when it came time to vote on the budget last week.. Nor were copies of it made available to the media until Tuesday.
The list of expenditures was sent to Richards Nov. 2 by the Legislature’s executive director, Maureen Rabsatt-Cullar. She said a 4 percent reduction over the previous year’s budget was due in part to a $273,560 drop in personnel costs which she attributed to "the quiet attrition program you initiated."
The $13 million in personnel costs is broken out as:
* $8,102,340 for staff salaries
* $985,000 for senators’ salaries
* $2,609,017 for F.I.C.A., retirement, unemployment insurance, health insurance and workmen’s compensation
* $937,500 for professional services "to cover among other things, salaries for existing personnel"
* $300,000 for the summer youth employment program
* $ 85,000 for lump sum payments for accrued annual leave which "is especially significant on years when there is an anticipated turnover of employees after each election."
The budget includes no money for capital projects.
The remaining $1.3 million is divided up as follows:
* $12,000 for automobile maintenance and repair
* $31,000 for vehicle insurance
* $144,617 for operating supplies
* $24,350 for books, periodicals and professional reference
* $181,362 for telephone expenses
* $271,355 for travel
* $17,990 for printing and binding, particularly the inaugural booklet
* $67,926 for rental of office space for St. Croix and St. John Legislture
* $6,000 for lease purchase agreement for internet access
* $25,500 for grants and contributions, such as membership in the National State Conference of Legislatures
* $26,000 for training
* $198,500 for utility expenses – electrical/water
* $ 203,356 for miscellaneous/other expenses
The operating expenses for the St. John Legislature are included in the miscellaneous as are more grants and contributions, freight and interisland mail service charges, repair and cleaning and extermination services, treatment programs for employee with alcohol or drug problems, and compensation for experts and consultants.


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