Governor Kenneth Mapp of the U.S. Virgin Islands is encouraging both public and private sector investment in the Territory during his current visit to Washington for the National Governors Association (NGA) Winter Meeting where he is meeting the new President, members of Congress and business leaders.
Speaking with White House Correspondent April Ryan at American Urban Radio Networks (AURN), Governor Mapp noted that President Donald Trump has encouraged businesses to come back to do work and invest in America. He reminded Ryan’s listeners that the Territory offers tremendous corporate tax advantages.
“The U.S. Virgin Islands is an excellent place for businesses to invest given the wonderful tax climate that the U.S. Congress has allowed us to use to encourage American companies to do business there,” said the only sitting African-American Governor of the United States and its Territories.
As the U.S. Virgin Islands prepares to officially commemorate its 100th anniversary under the U.S. flag, the Governor believes it is important for the new president to understand the historic importance of the event and its impact on the American citizens living in the Territory. He also wants President Trump to recognize that the Territory deserves funding from the infrastructure initiatives that the new administration puts forth.
“How can we get a reasonable share of the Highway Trust Fund so that the road system in the Virgin Islands could be taken care of?” the Governor questioned, explaining that investing in a solid, safe and modern infrastructure is critical for the nearly three million Americans from the U.S. mainland who visit St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas each year as well as more than 100,000 American citizens living in the Territory.
Governor Mapp has spent the past several weeks working to address the concerns of the business community, residents and elected officials in the Virgin Islands about the financial challenges facing the Territory. Much of his recent focus has been on restoring the Territory’s fiscal health by making the necessary changes to grow the economy and balance the budget.
“No one likes budget cuts or raising taxes. And no chief executive wants to request that the Legislature approve these crucial measures, but we must. Leadership means making some very difficult but necessary decisions. I ask the business community, our elected officials, and our citizens to join me so we can do this together. We must share responsibility for stabilizing our Territory’s finances after years of neglect, to ensure a future we can all be proud of,” the Governor has said, referring to the Virgin Islands Revenue Enhancement and Economic Recovery Act of 2017 and other recent fiscal bills which had been carefully crafted to lay a firm foundation for the fiscal health of the Territory.
Democratic, Republican and Independent governors are currently gathering in Washington, D.C., for one of their two annual meetings. In addition to policy discussions on education, infrastructure, childhood hunger and cybersecurity, governors are meeting with President Trump, Vice President Pence and various cabinet secretaries. They will also go to Capitol Hill on Monday to hold briefings with leaders in Congress on health care reform, tax reform and cybersecurity. At this weekend’s talks, there will be a record number of attendees, including at least 46 governors.