Governor Rebukes House’s Budget
Gov. Pedro Pierluisi said today that the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) House of Representatives majority delegation approved a budget of $10.1 billion with changes that do not represent the priorities of the residents of the island.
Pierluisi questioned why the PDP delegation did not include important initiatives presented by the current administration, such as funding to fight gender-based violence, for a pilot investment project in public service and address climate change. At a news conference at La Fortaleza, Pierluisi urged the Senate of Puerto Rico to provide the necessary amendments.
“The budget (presented by the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico) fell short, so I brought to the Legislative Assembly the appropriations that they should take into consideration to improve government services and promote economic development…To the surprise and the detriment of our people, the House of Representatives ignored most of the initiatives that benefit the people and instead made greater cuts, imposed more bureaucracy on the government, and assigned increases in its budget, ” Pierluisi said.
Pierluisi said the House’s budget fell short in several areas. For example, according to the governor, the House cut by $200 million operation expenses of the Highway Authority without including budgetary priorities.
“Worse still, they used that funding to assign $112 million to the Scholarship Program of the University of Puerto Rico, even though those funds had already been assigned. The Department of the Treasury of Puerto Rico has the funds in a restricted account,” he said.
Numerically, the House’s budget is very similar to the one presented by the Oversight Board, $10.112 billion versus $10.100 billion, although it differs in different areas.
The House also included $90 million to cover Prepa salaries or employees that did not transfer to LUMA Energy and $15 million to pay for a salary raise for correctional employees.