Senate to investigate budgets during García Padilla administration
SAN JUAN — The Senate approved during Wednesday’s session a resolution to investigate and evaluate the Puerto Rican government’s budgets and income and spending from fiscal years 2013 and 2014, up until the first six months of 2020-2021, so the Legislative Assembly can determine if to carry out actions or changes.
Despite the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) delegation’s interest to broaden Senate Resolution 10 to budgets between fiscal years 2009-2012, the amendment was not approved, so the Senate will only evaluate budget management in former Gov. Alejandro García Padilla’s administration.
“More than $16 billion were generated in public debt between 2009 and 2012. The country’s total debt in 2009, the year when [former Gov.] Luis Fortuño and the New Progressive Party [NPP] government began, [the debt] was $53 billion. After four years, the debt increased to $70 billion. This represents a 23% increase of Puerto Rico’s debt in one term, which led the country straight to being unable to face its obligations at the same time,” PDP Sen. José Nadal Power said as a means to justify García Padilla’s actions in the last term.
The legislator said that if the investigation is intended to be thorough, it must include the Fortuño administration’s term due to the level of indebtedness.
The author of the bill, NPP Sen. Migdalia Padilla, insisted on the need to conduct the investigation in order to “avoid repeating the same mistakes that led us to have a fiscal oversight board,” which has control over the island’s finances, as established in the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management & Economic Stability, or Promesa.
“We didn’t see anything in the past, as is, from Governor Fortuño, so we will concentrate on García Padilla’s four years,” the NPP senator added.
Meanwhile, the Senate approved several resolutions to investigate the services provided by the methadone program of the Mental Health and Addiction Services Administration (S.R. 9), and to order an investigation into retirement systems for government and judiciary employees (S.R. 12).
Also approved were a resolution to investigate security measures and programs at Puerto Rico’s airports (S.R. 15); carrying out an investigation regarding patents registered by the United States Patent and Trademark Office to determine businesses with potential to be commercialized (S.R. 24); and to conduct an additional study about the tax incentives offered in Puerto Rico (S.R. 25).