Support Economic Justice in the VI by Remitting Overdue Revenue from Gasoline Excise Taxes

Support Economic Justice in the VI by Remitting Overdue Revenue from Gasoline Excise Taxes

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Why this petition matters

Started by ROA 28

Oil refineries like Limetree Bay, which followed Hovensa/Hess, have to pay taxes to the federal government on the gasoline they refine.

This is called an excise tax, a type of tax that only applies to specific goods and services at the point of production. There are excise taxes on the production of alcohol, boat motors, firearms, and even airline tickets. But one of the biggest sources of revenue for the federal government is through excise taxes on fuel.

Section 28 of the 1954 Revised Organic Act says that any tax money that the federal government collects on products made in the U.S. Virgin Islands should come back to the USVI – not stay with the federal government.

The federal government has not returned excise tax money collected on gasoline refined in the USVI between 1964 and 2012. We want it back, and we need your signature to help us get it.

The 1954 Revised Organic Act serves as the Constitution of the USVI.

It was put in place to give the U.S. territory more autonomy, self-agency, and economic stability after its long history of being controlled by European colonial powers. That’s why there was a provision for the USVI to get revenue from taxes on specific goods and services produced in the territory. In fact, the territory receives revenue from rum excise taxes based on this law.

When the federal government does not return the gasoline excise taxes, it fails to honor this provision intended to advance development in the USVI.

Over a time span of almost 50 years, the federal government generated more than $7 billion from excise taxes on gasoline refined in the USVI. That would include gasoline refined during the prime of the Hovensa/Hess refinery’s operations in St. Croix.

While the oil refineries have brought many economic benefits, including jobs for many USVI residents, there is a trade-off with the health risks and environmental impact. Hovensa/Hess destroyed the USVI’s largest mangrove forest, fouled coastal waters, contaminated groundwater, and sent clouds of carcinogens into neighboring communities. More recently, Limetree Bay rained oil on St. Croix residents.

Historically, excise taxes have funded costs related to the taxed items. In this case, excise taxes could fund activities that mitigate the public health and environmental impact directly related to refining crude oil in the USVI.

The USVI also faces other socioeconomic challenges. Debts for health care, waste management, energy, education, and public safety abound. The cost of living is high, but the average income is low.

We believe that retroactive payment from the overdue gasoline excise taxes can help the USVI reduce many of these socioeconomic and environmental challenges.

Your signature rallies support for an executive order from President Biden to get the gasoline excise tax dollars back to the USVI. Sign today!

367 have signed. Let’s get to 500!