Governor Bryan Submits Legislation to Use Excise Tax Revenue for Repayment of 8% Retro Wages to Government Employees

U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS — Governor Albert Bryan Jr. sent down to the 34th Legislature proposed legislation that would enable the Government of the Virgin Islands (GVI) to use the Excise Tax revenue to repay government employees the 8% reduction in salaries effected by the Virgin Islands Economic Stability Act of 2011 (VIESA), Act No. 7621.

The Governor’s proposed legislation, dated June 9, 2021, would begin repayment of the 8% retro in Fiscal Year 2021 and continue into FY 2022 until each VIESA-affected employee is paid a share of the funds in the VIESA Compensation Excise Tax Account established by the legislation, as determined by the discretion of the Governor.

A VIESA-affected employee’s right to receive payments under the proposed bill will terminate at such time as the employee’s repayment amount balance is zero.

“As I stated in the State of the Territory Address in January and have proposed in the Biennial Budget of FY 2022-2023, I intend to make payment as directed by the ruling in the cases of United Steel Paper and Forestry Rubber Manufacturing Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union AFL-CIO-CLC v. Government of the Virgin Islands, No. 14-4357, and St. Croix Federation AFT Local 1826 v. Governor of the Virgin Islands, No. 14-4358, and make whole all employees who suffered salary reductions under application f the VIESA,” Governor Bryan wrote in his transmittal letter to Senate President Donna Frett-Gregory.

“This includes all employees in the unions that challenged the action and those that were not union members but affected by the application of the Act,” the Governor wrote.

The repayment of the 8% retro wages is just one of a number of elements in Governor Bryan’s proposed biennial Executive Budget, which also includes $110 million for income tax refunds; pay raises for government employees in both 2022 and 2023; funding for more than 1,200 government jobs in FY 2022; more than $15 million to be placed in the Rainy-Day Fund across both fiscal years; creation of the Office of Gun Violence Prevention and the Office of Health Information Exchange within the Office of the Governor; and Development of a Virgin Islands Territorial Park System.

The Bryan-Roach Administration is committed to transparency, stabilizing the economy, restoring trust in the government and ensuring that recovery projects are completed as quickly as possible. Visit transparency.vi.gov

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