Home News Local news POLL: TOO LITTLE KNOWN ABOUT TAX WINDFALL

POLL: TOO LITTLE KNOWN ABOUT TAX WINDFALL

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June 23, 2001 – A total of 38 percent of last week's V.I. Source poll participants were about equally divided three ways in their views of the government plan to allocate a major share of a projected $100 million tax windfall for government employees' salary increases.
13 percent thought it was good news for the territory as a whole.
11 percent thought it was good news, but the Senate majority should not have approved the bill without a hearing on the measure.
14 percent thought it was good news for government workers, but some of the money could have been better spent to benefit the territory as a whole.
However, by far the largest group of respondents — 47 percent — said they were skeptical that a major new revenue stream to fund the allocations exists, or that it can be sustained. This viewpoint held across all three Source papers — 48 percent for St. Thomas, 46 percent for St. Croix and 45 percent for St. John.
And another 15 percent territorywide said they couldn't form an opinion without knowing more about the plan.
The latter two responses — representing a total of 62 percent of this week's poll participants — also reflect views expressed by the non-majority members of the 24th Legislature, who walked out of the special session on June 15 when they realized that no hearing would take place before the issue was put to a vote.
Both of these groups thus are allied with the 11 percent who responded that a hearing should have taken place. That makes a total of 73 percent saying, in essence, that the community would have been better served if lawmakers (on the public's behalf) had asked questions about the governor's plan and had taken testimony from the financial officers in the administration who had gone to the Legislature that day prepared to testify.
The number of poll respondents was 368 overall — 232 on St. Thomas, 125 on St. Croix and 11 on St. John. Here is the question and the responses broked down by numbers of votes on St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John, with the total percentage in parentheses:
Which of the following best represents your views concerning the governor's plan, approved by the Senate majority last Friday (June 15), to use a major share of the projected $100 million increase in tax revenues to give government workers overdue salary raises?
1. It's good news for the territory as a whole.
STT 30, STX 16, STJ 1 = 13 percent
2. It's good news for all, but the Senate majority should not have approved the bill without holding a hearing for legislators to question administration financial officials about details of the plan.
STT 26, STX 14, STJ 0 = 11 percent
3. It's good news for government workers, but at least part of the "found" money should be used in other ways that would better serve the territory as a whole.
STT 27, STX 21, STJ 3 = 14 percent
4. I am skeptical that such a major new revenue stream is there, or that it can be sustained.
STT 111, STX 57, STJ 5 = 47 percent
5. I can't form an opinion without knowing more about the plan.
STT 38, STX 17, STJ 2 = 15 percent

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