St. John Tradewinds News

Resident Proposes Property Tax Discount Program by Jay Swartley

Editor: 

An open letter to Governor deJongh, Lieutenant Governor Francis, the V.I. senators and the
property owners of the Virgin Islands,

No doubt the property tax issue here in the Virgin Islands has been a hot topic. I do believe responsible property owners in the Virgin Islands want to pay a fair property tax based on a fair tax assessment. There is no question that property owners will eventually have to pay a property tax based on recent legislation and their present assessment or something yet to be determined. Either way property owners will have to pay or risk losing their property.

My suggestion for your consideration is a discount program to be offered along with the amnesty program. I propose that property owners who pay both their 2006 and 2007 taxes this year, (based on the same rate) be offered a discount. These property owners would receive a 10 percent discount on their 2007 tax bill if paid at the same time as the 2006 bill. In fact, why not offer property owners a discount each year if the taxes are prepaid 90 days prior to the tax bill being issued?

Not everyone will be able to afford to do this, just as many who would benefit from the amnesty program can not afford to take advantage of it. However for those that do budget and save for the anticipated tax bill every year and have not had to pay a tax bill last year, why not offer an incentive to pay the two bills in one year? Would that also not help out for the short term at least, with the $60 million shortfall?

Grateful to be a St. John property owner,                                                                                                                                            Jay Swartley