PDP legislators present bill to increase UPR funds
SAN JUAN — Popular Democratic Party (PDP) representatives Jesús Manuel Ortiz, Manuel Natal Albelo, and Ramón Luis Cruz filed a bill on Monday that would increase funds to the University of Puerto Rico (UPR).
House Bill 653’s goal is to strengthen the UPR’s Dotal Fund by granting members of the academic community and the general population the opportunity to acquire a special license plate of their choice that alludes to academic union, so they can display their pride and gratitude for the public institution of higher education. Thus, the government would have to separate more funds to the UPR in order to meet demands.
However, this would be a voluntary measure for citizens, meaning that it doesn’t represent a tax or tariff imposition.
Cruz explained that last week the Fiscal Oversight & Management Board created by the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management & Economic Stability Act (Promesa) recommended “drastic” budget cuts upwards to $300 million and increased enrollment fees in the public university system, in order to straighten the island’s finances. The legislator added that the board’s recommendations may also negatively impact investigations, patents, brands, as well as the University’s prestige and collaborations with international institutions, which open creative and production spaces.
“This situation would have a nefarious effect on the UPR and it would irrationally set back the country’s efforts to be immersed in the economy of knowledge. Therefore, we are offering alternatives to destine additional funds to the University,” said Cruz, alternate minority leader in the PDP House delegation.
The PDP official accused Gov. Ricardo Rosselló and the New Progressive Party (NPP) of maintaining “absolute silence” because “they have’t presented a single alternative to impede our university students from losing their resources.”
“The NPP will undoubtedly become an accomplice to the crisis the UPR will face. We are representing out University and we will protect the country’s best interests. We have to act and we have to look for other solutions to attend our island’s fiscal crisis with responsibility,” he affirmed.
The bill establishes that these special license plates would cancel proof of internal income of $20, in addition to the cost per license plate, whose sum would be transferred to the UPR’s Dotal Fund.