Krim Ballantine is an old friend of mine and I have a lot of respect for his views, but I cannot agree with him on his court case. (See news report "Lawsuit seeks full rights for Virgin Islanders".)
When I studied American history, I was taught that the American Revolutionary War was fought for independence. The colonists resented paying taxes to Great Britain without representation in the British Parliament — "No taxation without representation." In the case of the American Virgin Islands, we are not second-class citizens; we are privileged citizens who have all the rights of citizenship without having to pay federal income tax.
Anyone residing legally in the U.S. Virgin Islands is free to move to any state in the Union and become a resident of that state. Nearly all of those who are U.S. citizens would then be free to vote in federal elections and would have to pay federal income tax. Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander: "No taxation without representation; no representation without taxation." To be able to vote in a corporate meeting, one must own stock in the corporation, not just buy the product it makes or sells.
One more thing that has always posed a question in my mind: Before the revised Organic Act of 1954, the Virgin Islands had the authority to impose a "state" income tax. This was done, and the law required it to be similar to the federal income tax. We used the federal forms, and the federal government even sent down auditors to assist in the interpretations of the federal law. A person cheating on taxes would be violating only V.I. law.
The 1954 revision states, as close as I can recall, that residents of the Virgin Islands paying into the V.I. Treasury an amount similar to what would be the federal tax will have met their federal obligations. The V.I. law grants tax exemptions, and the tax is not required. In that case, has that person met his or her federal obligation?.
Jack M. Monsanto
Hilton Head, S.C.
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