CHARLOTTE AMALIE, St. Thomas ---The Finance Committee of the U.S. Virgin Islands Senate rejected a proposed 25% room tax increase and a $5-a-day car rental surcharge --- two of several measures proposed by Gov. Charles Turnbull to deal with an anticipated fiscal-year deficit of $144 million.

David Yamada, president of the St. Thomas-St. John Hotel & Tourism Association, applauded the Senate action.

"This is not the time to increase the cost of a Virgin Islands vacation," Yamada said. "Hoteliers, the local hospitality industry and the Tourism Dept. are trying to attract vacationers via discounts and incentives."

The two proposals, along with three other bills backed by the administration to address the fiscal crisis, will be taken up by the full Senate on June 17.

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