Home News Local news NORTON BEGINS TOUR WITH MEETINGS, RECEPTION

NORTON BEGINS TOUR WITH MEETINGS, RECEPTION

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April 1, 2003 – In meetings with Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton Tuesday, Gov. Charles W. Turnbull asked for help in getting the territory's $160 million Hurricane Marilyn loan canceled.
He also told Norton, who is head of the agency with direct oversight for the territory, that President George W. Bush's tax cut proposal "could have a serious negative impact on the government's tax revenues," according to a release from Government House sent late Tuesday night.
Turnbull also put in a pitch for the federal government to pick up 60 percent of the cost to the territory of the Earned Income Credit — which has no revenue source to support it in the Virgin Islands.
Because the territory's tax system mirrors the federal system, the V.I. government is left to pay earned income credits to single head of household working poor — a considerable percentage of the V.I. population. With a vastly larger tax base, the U.S. has no problem funding the tax-credit program, but it has always been a problem for the Virgin Islands to handle the extra burden — about $15 million a year in lost revenues, according to Government House.
At a reception held in her honor earlier in the evening, Norton said she planned to hold an economic summit in Washington, D.C., later in the year to address economic issues facing all of the U.S. territories. The meeting, she said, would focus on sustainable economic growth not related to tourism.
Norton pledged that in her travels around the nation she will let business owners know about the advantages of doing business in the Virgin Islands.
Earlier in the day, the release said, Turnbull and Norton discussed issues involving the V.I. National Park, which also falls under her purview. Topics included a land exchange on St. John for a new school and the problem of St. Johnians accessing their privately owned lands which are surrounded by the park.
In her first visit to the territory, Norton has a busy schedule, with stops on St. Croix and St. John to come. She has a press conference scheduled on St. John Thursday morning.
She said Tuesday evening that although she had studied about the islands, it was quite different to be experiencing the territory first hand.

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