Transparency, Oversight Laws Proposed for Legislative Appropriations
SAN JUAN – Rep. Rafael “Tatito” Hernández and Sen. José Nadal introduced two bills Sunday that seek effective oversight of the financial reporting process on the use of funds and special appropriations granted by the Legislature to agencies, public corporations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
During a press conference at the Capitol, Nadal said he considers the bills to be “more important than approving a fiscal control board,” while Hernández added, “The fiscal situation we are facing requires us to be more rigorous and responsible in government spending. So it is very important to know how all funds from laws and special appropriations are used in order to achieve fiscal stability, to balance the budget and move toward the economic recovery that our people need,” Hernández added.
House Bill 2818 aims to create the Transparency, Control and Effective Governance of Special Funds Act as a means to authorize the Treasury Secretary to establish an electronic system to monitor receipts, records, and other documents and transactions.
“Treasury’s collections for agencies’ special funds will become part of the General Fund,” the representative summarized.
The tax revenue for special appropriations that does not go to the General Fund totals $1.6 million, while Treasury’s collection for agencies’ special funds reaches $409,100, resulting in $2 million that would go to the General Fund.
Hernández’s House Bill 2819 seeks to establish a mechanism to monitor the use of public funds awarded annually to NGOs.
“Some entities receive legislative appropriations, but there has never been control of how those funds are handled, or a validation of results,” Nadal said while proposing they be audited.
The bill stipulates that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) establish guidelines and standards to check the use of public funds granted to these organizations. The OMB would also ensure and certify that the use of those funds is directed to fulfill the social mission for which they were granted.