STRENGTH – The governor, Pedro Rafael Pierluisi Urrutia, rejected on Monday the approved budget of the House of Representatives, understanding that it “imposes obstacles” on the executive.
“In the process of preparing the budget before the Fiscal Control Board, we managed to include some important initiatives, such as money to combat gender violence, to start a pilot project of investment in the public service, to address the climate change, for social assistance and anti-poverty programs, and about two million in increases in necessary personnel such as social workers, prosecutors, inspectors of the Department of Consumer Affairs (DACO) and adjustments to comply with pensioners of government retirees ” Pierluisi said at a press conference.
“However, the Board’s budget 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, including funds for road maintenance, incentives to promote to Puerto Rico as an air cargo base, first job opportunities for young people and to recruit retired personnel in support of our agencies, among several others. To the surprise and detriment of our people, the House of Representatives ignored most of the initiatives for the benefit of the people and instead made greater cuts, imposed more bureaucracy on the government and assigned increases in its own budget, “he added.
The president said that, in the first place, they cut an allocation of operational expenses to the Highway Authority of over 200 million dollars, which the legislators of the Popular Democratic Party (PPD) distributed without including the established priorities.
“Worse still, they used that item to get 112 million dollars for the scholarship program to the University of Puerto Rico, despite the fact that those funds were already assigned and the Department of the Treasury has them in a restricted account,” he said.
He denounced that in the budget approved by the House on Saturday night, they increased the budget for the House, the Senate and the Superintendency of the Capitol by 17 million dollars.
“This while denying funds to key agencies such as Public Security, Police and Education, and did not include any additional investment in economic development or human capital. They cut one million from the payroll of the Department of Health, they denied the Department of Justice 3 million dollars for the recruitment of more prosecutors, they denied the 44 million of the equalization fund for the municipalities and they did not allocate 94 million dollars for the budget of the University of Puerto Rico. In short, they ignored the needs of the people in exchange for funds for them, “said the governor.
Pierluisi Urrutia said he rejected “the language of the House budget that seeks to obstruct the work of the government, since it pretends that the government has to return to the Legislative Assembly for each budget adjustment, and tries to further bureaucratize the agencies.”