Just days after hitting the Senate with legislation meant to help the territory through its current fiscal crisis, Gov. John deJongh Jr. is also calling for the courts to help save the government money by voluntarily scaling back its budgets for fiscal years 2011 and 2012.
"Because the executive branch cannot — nor would it be fair to — shoulder the burden alone, I call upon each of you to take whatever steps you can do within your respective courts to achieve a budget saving on the order of another 3 percent of your organization’s FY 2011 appropriation…" deJongh wrote in a recent letter to V.I. Superior Court Presiding Judge Darryl D. Donohue and V.I. Supreme Court Chief Justice Rhys S. Hodge.
DeJongh said that on the executive branch side, he has already sent a bill along to the Senate reducing the government’s workforce by more than 300 employees, implementing unpaid holidays and a limited hiring freeze and consolidating several government agencies, among other things.
"Give the components of our budget, there is little alternative to this drastic action," the governor added.
The Supreme Court’s budget for FY 2011 is $6.5 million, while the Superior Court was slated to receive $28.8 million.
"The burden of cutting budgets and doing more with less must be shouldered by all branches of government if the territory is to weather the current financial challenges brought on by the worst recession of our lifetimes,” de Jongh said.