USVI official: Rum tax rebate must not be lowered

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Associated Press

Posted on September 22, 2013 at 2:30 PM

Updated Monday, Sep 23 at 3:00 AM

CHARLOTTE AMALIE, U.S. Virgin Islands (AP) — A U.S. Virgin Islands official is urging Washington to reconsider a rate used in calculating the Caribbean territory's anticipated revenue from rum taxes.

Under an obscure federal law, much of the money generated by rum sold in the U.S. goes to the treasuries of the U.S. territories of the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

Debra Gottlieb is director of the Virgin Islands budget office. She says the islands should continue to receive the $13.25 rate they've received since 1999 instead of a new lower rate calculated by the U.S. Treasury for next fiscal year.

In a letter to a top official in the U.S. Interior Department, Gottlieb says the lower rate will result in "severe financial hardship" locally.

Gottlieb's letter was released by the island's government Sunday.

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