P.R. Government Reduces Budget by $254 Million With Cuts
There’s another tightening of the screw of austerity. Luis F. Cruz, executive director of the Office of Management Budget has announced a decrease of $254 million in the budget for the current fiscal year because the projected revenues of the Treasury Department have decreased by $508 million.
While the cuts will be on essential areas such as security, health, education and social welfare, Cruz insisted that essential services wouldn’t be affected. The largest cut, $119 million, is on the commonwealth’s debt payment, mainly because of a default on the $113 million payment of the Infrastructure Financing Authority.
The remaining $6 million is for a payment that the Government Development Bank advanced in relation to a payment for Act 70, or the Retirement Window Law.
The adjusted budget, of $9.525 billion (the original budget was $9.8 billion, from which a $275 million reserve is subtracted for a debt payment that requires legislative approval) has now been reduced to $9.271 billion. The commonwealth budget is now at the same level as in 2004.
Security spending will suff er a $24 million cut; health $12 million; $10 million in education and another $4 million to be subtracted from the social welfare budget. Payments to the Retirement System have also received a $19 million cut.
Cruz insisted that this adjustment to the budget won’t affect the government’s essential services and that they have been carried out in a “surgical” manner so as to have the least possible effect on the local economy. He stressed that the aim of these budgets is to guarantee the payroll of public employees for the rest of the fiscal year.
No specific details on the cuts were given. Only in the case of education was it mentioned that the budget cuts were related reducing assignments to nonprofit organizations. Cruz didn’t rule out another budget cut before June, but said he was confident it wouldn’t be necessary.