In a message offered to just 13 days of the start of the next fiscal year, the governor Wanda Vazquez submitted a budget proposal that raises spending in areas such as health, education and public safety and promises many additional benefits for public employees, despite the fact that promised to reduce by $145 million the operating cost of the government apparatus.
Speaking primarily in front of members of the new progressive majority in both legislative chambers, Vázquez presented a consolidated budget of $28,234 million, of which $10,214 million would be charged to the general fund. Spending on government operations, according to the executive, would be $6,288 million.
The governor proposed an increase of $314 million to the budget of the Department of Health, $285 million in additional Department of Public Safety (DSP) and an increase of $176 million for the Department of Education.
Among the increases, the line of health, the president emphasized an investment of $110 million for hospital improvements and $145 million for the system Medicaid, which is funded primarily with federal funds.
In the area of education, Vazquez recommended an investment of $52 million for the hiring of psychologists and other $43 million for a scholarship fund for students of the University of Puerto Rico. In overall terms, the increase in the expenditure in the field of education amounted to $176 million, according to the speech of Vázquez, offered in the Fine Arts Center of Santurce, instead of in the hemicycle of the house, as is usual for this type of message.
On the other hand, the governor promised an incentive of $1,000 to all students graduating high school who have been enrolled in an institution of higher education.
In the case of the DSP, the first executive pledged $285 million, including $122 million to comply with the payment of overtime accrued by Police officers over the past few years.
“With unknown intentions, the board tried to overtake yesterday details of the budget that is submitted today. To know that, in spite of this, I reaffirm that I will defend the benefits of the public employees that were not budgeted or approved by them. I reaffirm that the government is in charge of all puerto ricans to decide the public policy to be implemented”.
The proposed expenditures Vazquez, ultimately, you must pass the sieve of the Board of Fiscal Control (JCF), that in the three years since it was instituted has chosen to unilaterally impose its version of the budget. The governor assured that he will fight this intervention, explaining that recently the government introduced a series of lawsuits to challenge in court the actions of the organism on what that means are elements of public policy.
Repeatedly, over the past few years, the federal court has validated the actions of the JCF.
“With unknown intentions, the board tried to overtake yesterday details of the budget that is submitted today. To know that, in spite of this, I reaffirm that I will defend the benefits of the public employees that were not budgeted or approved by them. I reaffirm that the government is in charge of all puerto ricans to decide the public policy to be implemented,” said Vazquez.
The governor insisted that the budget gives priority to “ensure the payment of pensions”, while expressing his support to a measure passed in the House of Representatives that establishes public policy in relation to retirement benefits. The project tripartite seeks to stop any future cut to the pensions and seeks to improve fiscal conditions, they legislate new benefits for retirees.
Other promises of Vázquez were the disbursement of the Christmas bonus to public employees, which has been a point of contention with the JCF, year after year, the permanence 400 special education assistants and insist on the Compensation Plan Uniform that would raise the salary to government workers, which is already the entity for federal have been rejected.
“It is not reasonable to continue downloading all the tax cuts against public employees. The measure of compensation is necessary and is urgent,” said Vazquez
The governor also opposed the proposed privatization of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting that the JCF has demanded be completed by the start of the next fiscal year, July 1.
“Our efforts are not directed to deliver, and much less to give away one of our most valuable assets. I come to promote its transformation,” said Vázquez, without specifying what model would give a boost to the corporation, beyond indicate that the entity should be able to generate their own income.
In the beginning of your message, fraught with the traditional cries of “four more years”, the governor presented as an achievement by the way in which his administration responded to the emergency of the earthquake in January, as well as the pandemic of the COVID-19 as of march.
Vazquez highlighted that fixed the “relationships lacerate” inherited with the federal government, which allowed a more effective response both during the emergency of earthquakes, such as in the pandemic. That relationship, according to the executive, has allowed the disbursement of over $3,000 million in incentives to mitigate the economic crisis that resulted from the pandemic of the new coronavirus.
To facilitate the celebration of the message in the Fine Arts Center, both legislative chambers are formed in Total Commission Special. However, the minority, who pointed out that to make the speech outside the chamber, house speaker violentaba the constitutional provisions, they decided to leave the message
Faced with this situation, the independent representative Manuel Natal was the single legislator of the minority that chose to attend the Hall of Festivals Antonio Paoli of the enclosure santurcino.