Proposed Fiscal Year 2013 budgets With V.I. already looking to find $14 million, senators add $1.6 million in new spending
Published: September 19, 2012
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ST. THOMAS - Senators approved the Fiscal Year 2013 budget Tuesday, but not before adding additional appropriations and policy changes at the last minute.
An amendment attached to the executive budget Tuesday contained about $1.6 million in new appropriations.
In an attempt to balance the budget, senators also included a provision allowing the government to transfer $14 million in local revenues from almost any fund it can find money to assist the government with its operating costs. The measure exempts only the St. John and St. Croix Capital Improvement Funds and the V.I. Water and Power Authority Generating and Infrastructure Fund from being raided.
The amendment also gives a Gross Receipts Tax exemption to any entity selling fuel or gasoline to WAPA. The government's agreement with HOVENSA provided a similar exemption.
The amendment also mandates WAPA's board submit a plan within 90 days for using the money now being collected in the WAPA Generating and Infrastructure Fund.
The measure appropriates $650,000 from the interest earned on debt service reserves to the V.I. Fire Service as a local match to federal funding. The funds will be used to construct a new Hotel Company - Fort Christian - fire station on St. Thomas.
Senators appropriated $250,000 from the General Fund to the Lt. Governor's Office Division of Banking and Insurance to fund personnel and equipment costs required to comply with the International Banking Center Regulator Act.
The amendment also clarifies how previous payments to the Government Employees Retirement System are to be used. Specifically, the proposed legislation allows employees to retire by paying what the government owes for outstanding employer contributions.
The executive budget is the main General Fund budget for all central government departments and agencies. The executive budget includes a miscellaneous section, which has earmarks for government and non-government entities. On Friday, senators added $9.2 million to the miscellaneous section above what the governor proposed and on Tuesday, they added another $1.4 million to the miscellaneous section.
When deJongh submitted the FY 2013 budget, the executive budget totalled about $592.2 million. The executive budget passed by the Senate committee Tuesday totals $605.3 million.
The Legislative FY 2013 operating budget passed Tuesday totalled $17.8 million, but another $2.3 million was earmarked for the Legislature in the miscellaneous section of the executive budget.
In FY 2012, the Senate kept its own budget at $19.8 million - the same appropriation it got the year before - despite slashing the budgets of many departments and agencies. While the Senate majority said it was cutting its budget by $2 million this year to reflect cuts made by many departments and agencies, the Senate's total budget for FY 2013 is about $20.1 million if earmarks found in the miscellaneous section are included.
The earmarks include: $800,000 for employee separations; $200,000 for the employer contribution to Government Employees Retirement System; $1 million for past expenses for unemployment insurance; $300,000 to restore the 8 percent pay cuts to senators and legislative employees; and $75,000 for the newly established Youth Advisory Council.
The FY 2013 budget for the judicial branch was also adopted by senators Tuesday.
DeJongh had recommended a $30,733,925 total General Fund budget for the judiciary, but the budget passed by senators Tuesday totalled $32,460,550.
The budget breaks down as: $5.7 million for the Supreme Court; $23 million for the Superior Court; $225,972 for the Judicial Council; and $3.5 million for the Public Defender's Office.
Each year, the Senate must pass a series of budget bills transferring funds from various accounts to the General Fund to support the budget. In some cases, legislative approval is required for agencies to tap into certain revenue-collecting funds.
The budget bills approved Tuesday include:
- Bill 29-0396, transferring $4.6 million from the Anti-litter and Beautification Fund; $1 million to the V.I. Public Works Department; and $3,637,513 to the V.I. Waste Management Authority.
- Bill 29-0397, appropriating $1,270,709 from the General Fund to the V.I. Board of Education for scholarships.
- Bill 29-0398, transferring $1 million from the Transportation Trust Fund to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles Fund for the bureau's operating expenses.
- Bill 29-0399, transferring $2,053,237 from the Business and Commercial Properties Revolving Fund for operating expenses of the Property and Procurement Department.
- Bill 29-0400, appropriating $13 million from the Caribbean Basin Initiative Fund as a contribution to the General Fund.
- Bill 29-0401, appropriating $1.4 million from the General Fund for the Elections System: $81,914 to the St. Croix District Board of Elections; $75,252 to the St. Thomas-St. John District Board of Elections; and $1,269,020 to the Supervisor of Elections.
- Bill 29-0402, appropriating $2.3 million from the Government Insurance Fund: $557,466 for the Finance Department and $1,756,313 for the Labor Department for operating expenses.
- Bill 29-0403, appropriating $3,941,036 from the Health Revolving Fund to the V.I. Health Department for operating expenses.
- Bill 29-0404, appropriating $5,296,082 from the Indirect Cost Fund for salaries and operating expenses: $1,835,887 for the Office of Management and Budget; $391,060 for the Division of Personnel; $387,213 for the Property and Procurement Department; and $2,681,922 for Finance.
- Bill 29-0405, appropriating $3.5 million from the interest earned on debt service reserves as a contribution to the General Fund.
- Bill 29-0406, appropriating $1 million from the Interest Revenue Fund as a contribution to the General Fund.
- Bill 29-0407, appropriating $151 million from the Internal Revenue Matching Fund as a contribution to the General Fund and to pay debt service on bonds.
- Bill 29-0408, appropriating $1,050,000 from the Union Arbitration Award Fund as a contribution to the General Fund.
- Bill 29-0409, appropriating $1,563,367 from the Public Services Commission Revolving Fund for the PSC's operating expenses.
- Bill 29-0410, appropriating $3 million to the V.I. Waste Management Authority from the Sewer Waste Water Fund.
- Bill 29-0411, appropriating $1.5 million From the St. John Capital Improvement Fund: $225,000 to Public Works and $1,275,000 to Waste Management Authority.
- Bill 29-0412, appropriating $2 million from the Internal Revenue Matching Fund as a contribution to the St. Croix Capital Improvement Fund for pre-construction or construction at Paul E. Joseph Stadium.
- Bill 29-0413, appropriating about $4.7 million from the Tourism Advertising Revolving Fund: $2.5 million for Tourism to advertise St. Croix; $150,000 to the Economic Development Authority; $850,000 to the V.I. Police Department; $300,000 to Public Works; $300,000 to Waste Management Authority; and $650,000 to Tourism.
- Bill 29-0414, appropriating $11.5 million from the Transportation Trust Fund as a contribution to the General Fund.
- Bill 29-0415, appropriating $22,908,637 from any available funds to the University of the Virgin Islands.
- Bill 29-0416, appropriating $3,846,346 from the General Fund to WTJX Public Television System for operating expenses.
- Bill 29-0417, appropriating $632,569 from the Taxi License Fund to the V.I. Taxicab Commission for operating expenses.
- Bill 29-0418, appropriating $23,826,491 from the General Fund to the V.I. Waste Management Authority.
- Bill 29-0419, appropriating $1,281,370 from the Union Arbitration Award and Government Employees Increment Fund: $1,106,370 to the Public Employee Relations Board and $175,000 to the Labor Management Committee.
- Bill 29-0420, appropriating $609,317 from the Union Arbitration Award and Government Employees Increment Fund to the Division of Personnel for the operating expenses of the Office of Collective Bargaining.
- Bill 29-0421, appropriating $500,000 from stamp tax proceeds to the V.I. Housing Finance Authority to fund the Moderate Income Program. The remaining amount collected in the stamp tax fund will be deposited into the General Fund.
- Bill 29-0429, appropriating about $1.1 million from the Union Arbitration Award and Government Employees Increment Fund: $300,000 to the V.I. Justice Department for the witness protection program and $800,000 for litigation costs associated with the Tax Reform Act of 1986.
- Bill 29-0432, allowing WTJX to expand into other media formats and changing the general manager's title to chief executive officer. Governor's Senate's
Adjutant General $1,450,881 $1,450,881
Agriculture Department $2,541,354 $2,692,876
Board of Education $1,953,760 $2,153,759
Corrections Bureau $25,796,230 $25,796,230
DLCA $3,097,932 $3,198,627
DPNR $7,575,555 $7,575,555
Education Department $162,499,405 $162,665,751
Finance Department $5,257,398 $5,257,398
Governor's Office $9,000,891 $9,000,891
Health Department $21,684,309 $22,089,607
Housing, Parks and Recreation $5,952,955 $6,290,112
Human Services $57,285,345 $57,373,025
Information Technology Bureau $2,394,531 $2,394,531
Inspector General's Office $1,323,348 $1,323,348
Internal Revenue Bureau $10,019,306 $10,019,307
Justice Department $13,114,362 $13,546,154
Labor Department $4,478,287 $4,582,769
Lt. Governor's Office $6,386,170 $6,448,505
Luis Hospital $19,253,114 $19,253,114
Management and Budget $2,101,691 $2,101,690
Motor Vehicles Bureau $1,728,432 $1,728,432
Personnel Division $2,494,667 $2,592,770
Police Department $51,754,882 $51,837,082
Property and Procurement $4,112,849 $4,112,849
Public Works $20,556,047 $20,654,687
Schneider Hospital $21,323,994 $21,323,994
Tourism $2,766,377 $2,819,807
Veterans Affairs $340,829 $340,828
V.I. Fire Service $16,163,516 $16,163,516
VITEMA $4,379,449 $4,446,397
Miscellaneous $103,418,220 $114,058,103
Total $592,206,086 $605,292,595