Good Day my fellow Virgin Islanders, this is Allison “Allie” Petrus, your Democratic Candidate for Governor. This week I am continuing to present some of our platform issues on behalf of the Petrus/Sanes Team as they relate to the topic of Our Economy.

Last week, I discussed with you what I called Part 1 of a 3 Part Series on the Economy, which is one of the most fundamental issues, and challenges that is facing us today.

In fact, for those who tuned in last week, you would recall I entitled this Series: “It’s the Economy, Period”.

I also refer to the Economy as one of the most fundamental issues because, as we fix the economy, it is one of those key issues that will impact many other areas, or problems and challenges, and with proper management, will help to self-correct.

During last week’s discussion, I also laid out that a healthy, and therefore, a sustainable economy, is one based on the creation of businesses that would employ people and pay taxes (i.e. gross receipt), and one in which employed individuals would also pay taxes (Individual Income Tax) in this case and spend monies within our local economy.

Simply put, a healthy, or sustainable, economy is like an Economic Ecosystem where there is an exchange of monies from consumers for goods, and services, purchased from local businesses. This exchange of monies for goods and services between consumers and businesses, is the fundamental backbone for a sound economy.

I use this very simple breakdown for you because it’s important to note, any flow of new monies into our economy, such as the anticipation of large Federal Government spending, or even short-term loans, is not sustainable and therefore would be characterized as a False Economy. Something that the current Administration is already trying to do its best in deceiving the people of our territory with.

In developing a healthy and sustainable economy, the government must do its best, or its part to incentivize investors and those people with lifelong dreams, to open new businesses that would then employ people, who would then spend money and thereby become a part, or an integral, part of Our Economy.

Consumer spending is THE Most important element in any economy. In the Virgin Islands economy, with the absence of any manufacturing, it accounts for over 90 percent of our GTP, or Gross Territorial Product, or simply means our economy.

In incentivizing the development of new businesses, one of the areas that the Petrus/Sanes team will be examining is the development of a scaling of gross receipt taxes for new small businesses.

For example, in year 1 a new small business may pay 2% gross receipt taxes, 3% in Year 3 or year 2 and 4% in Year 3. This scaling scenario is important when it comes to small businesses because it gives those emerging businesses the fighting chance at surviving the most difficult period of their existence, which is historically the first three years.

It is important to note, this approach for new small businesses does not affect the existing bond obligation that is tied to gross receipts. Because of new employment, this would add to the increase of revenues to the Individual Income Tax category of government revenues.

Once again, remember from our discussion last week, this category represents 41% of our revenues, which is THE largest tax category, or revenue category, in our territory’s budget.

So, one may ask, and rightfully so, how do you create new small businesses in a dysfunctional government system? Let’s look at the Division of Licensing as an example. This division alone, under the current administration, has given new meaning to the term bureaucratic dysfunction.

To get a license, it could take a business owner up to 5 months of engineered hell. In spite of such infliction of pain, the Division issued over 15,000 licenses at varying cost of $163, or even more, depending on the license.

As restrictive as this current Administration’s policy is for developing new businesses, this category still managed to generate some $2.4 million.

Under the Petrus/Sanes Administration we would remove the burdensome restrictions imposed by the current Mapp Administration and allow those wishing to get a business license to do so, and get it done in no more than 2 days, thereby doubling the revenues collected in this area.

With the current Administration, getting a business license is a bureaucratic nightmare; with the Petrus/Sanes Administration, on the other hand, this it will be a Revenue Center. Which is a major difference!!

The current administration is overly obsessed with stopping things from happening by instituting bureaucratic red tape while the Petrus/Sanes Administration will be obsessed with removing bureaucracy to allow things to happen so the government can collect more revenues and allow more employment opportunities to be created in the territory.

To oversee and manage the facilitation of small business growth, the Petrus/Sanes Administration will develop an Office of Business Development within the Office of the Governor. This office will ensure systems and processes are in place to remove the bureaucratic barriers in the various departments that stymy the development of businesses.

Remember, small business development is the foundation of a vibrant economy. Small Businesses are responsible for close to 70 percent of employment in our economy. That’s a very big deal!

Also Remember, unlike any other candidate, including the sitting Governor, the Petrus/Sanes Team brings to you over 15 years of experience in job creation in the small business sector with over 150 local Virgin Islanders employed. When it comes to the task of helping to grow our small business community the Petrus/Sanes Team is the most qualified.

In 2016 The Mapp Administration projected collecting $802 million but actually only collected $672 million dollars, which was $130 million short; that’s because they operated from a Bureaucratic Mindset, trained to stop things from happening instead of from a Revenue Generating mindset, and that is distinctly different.

Revenues for our territory are needed, but the actions of this current administration tell a conflicting story, one that says they are not the team to help build an independent financial future for our people

This is what makes the Petrus/Sanes team prepared to govern in these difficult financial moments we find ourselves in. We get it and we know what needs to be done to create it

Balancing the government’s budget is about the collection of revenues on one side and control of spending on the other side. There exists too many lost opportunities in revenue collection and there has been far too many squandering of monies on the expense side.

I believe very strongly that we can manage our way out of this situation. I warn you not to be fooled by the false economy being peddled by the current administration, where there will be an influx of federal dollars, this my friends is not sustainable.

Our economy must be built on a sustainable foundation of private sector jobs.

Once our economic fundamentals are strong, then together, we will author one of the biggest comeback stories about a tiny island community that came back from the edges to blossom and flourish as a territory.

We will open the flood gates for small business opportunity and create a Bull Market for Our Territory.

I ask you to believe; I ask you to walk with the Petrus/Sanes Team on this journey toward our recovery.

Until next week, same place, and same time, Believe…And We Will Recover.

All In, All In, With Petrus Sanes Team.