ST. CROIX — When Senate Democrats decided to host a town hall meeting to hear from constituents following their overwhelming support of Governor Kenneth Mapp’s sin tax and property tax bills, which the governor said was needed to help allay the territory’s fiscal crisis, it was fair to assume that they expected questions about their own salary, which, at $85,000, is more than almost all U.S. state senators.
Like clockwork, the question was posed: “My first question, Act 6905. [Is] the 32nd Legislature willing to take a $10,000 or a $20,000 cut?” asked Taheema Edwards. Senators Neville James and Myron Jackson said they would take a pay cut if it came across the board, meaning the legislative and administrative branches of government.
But Senator Jean Forde disagreed.
“I will tell you straight up, that if this job was paying $20,000 less, I would not run for it,” Mr. Forde said. “Because 1), I was making more than that — as a matter of fact, it is a lateral move for me. 2), It’s because that my efforts, my energy of what I have put in, that I am giving the money’s worth.”
By then, the audience had started to mumble, a sign of dissent among constituents.