(V. I. Consortium) ST. THOMAS — In a post following the passage of the sin tax and property tax bills that had caused much uproar in the territory, Senator Kurt Vialet, a St. Croix Democrat, took to Facebook defending his position.
“I refuse to sit idly around and do nothing but blow hot air! I say no to sending home employees and shortened work week, I say no to financial insolvency,” Mr. Vialet wrote. His stance matched that of his majority caucus colleagues — Senator Nereida Rivera-O’Reilly said recently that she did not want the territory being taken over by a federal control board to be part of her legacy as a lawmaker.
But in an interview with the Mapp administration’s communications director Cherie Munchez late Tuesday, it was revealed that the 72-hour biweekly pay periods as well as other tough austerity measures mentioned by Governor Kenneth Mapp at a recent press conference, were still on the table — even after the controversial measures were passed and are now awaiting Mr. Mapp’s signature.
Asked whether austerity measures would be curtailed in light of the bills’ passage, Ms. Munchez referred to comments she said were made by the governor relative to the territory’s financial crisis, contending that Mr. Mapp did not rule out the 72-hour biweekly pay periods and other difficult cuts if the sin taxes were passed.