Our senators’ great disappointment in the financial reports presented by various officials should set the stage for some honest fiscal conversations.

It’s no surprise to anyone in our community that we are in really bad financial shape. This has been an ongoing crisis for decades, and all of us are the losers.

Knowing up front that our community has only about 16 days’ worth of “cash on hand” should send every government team into daylong sessions of serious brainstorming.

Added to this problem is that our cash on hand doesn’t even take into account that vendors haven’t been paid. Those same vendors that will cut services — hospital supplies, trash disposal, school supplies — and deny us credit because of our fiscal irresponsibility

Having 16 days of funds on hand for our community is like having only a few bucks in your wallet when a big credit card bill is due. And that credit card bill not only has to be paid, it is charging interest.

How much more information do we need before we figure out that we are sliding downward fast? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that decades of living beyond our means has caught up with us, and the Devil is now demanding his due.

Puerto Rico, which fell into such in desperate shape that it now is controlled under court-mandated orders, had less debt per person that we do now in the Virgin Islands. Our day is coming.

We need to stop the political posturing and start formulating workable plans. We have the talent to run government like a business. Act now before bankruptcy takes us all down.

— Maria Ferreras is a longtime St. Thomas resident and community volunteer. She can be reached at maria@dailynews.vi.

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