Gov. Charles Turnbull expects a bill to be signed by President Bush this week will be a near disaster for the islands’ economy.
The American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 contains provisions relative to the Economic Development Commission, clarifying the nearly 20-year-old plan. It requires EDC company principals to reside in the islands at least 183 days a year. And the government said that it appears income eligible for exemption from federal taxation will be limited to revenues generated on the islands, according to a report by the St. John Source. Peter Hiebert, Washington counsel for the V.I. government, told the Source, the EDC program was valuable because it “brought increased intellectual capital and increased creativity, as well as financial resources.” Government officials fear changes in the EDC will cause some VI-based companies to close up shop.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue estimated EDC companies contribute $115 million a year to the territory’s coffers.