The Fiscal Oversight Board (JSF) certified today, Thursday, a consolidated budget for the government of Puerto Rico of $28,000 million for the next fiscal year.
“After years of deficits that resulted in inadequate funding for critical services, Puerto Rico can now make significant investments to improve the quality of life for residents and businesses in Puerto Rico,” said the Oversight Board Chairman, David Skell.
“This budget not only prioritizes critical services, which are so important to the life of every Puerto Rican, but also provides the Government with the investments and stability that will boost the economy,” argued the president in written expressions.
What was approved by the Board, which takes effect tomorrow, is made up of the General Fund budget of $12.4 billion for the daily operations of the Government of Puerto Rico, the Special Revenue Fund of $4.5 billion for private uses, as well as $11.2 billion funding from the United States federal government.
Through a press release, the members of the fiscal entity maintained that the consolidated budget for 2023 guarantees the financing of public services, as well as the priorities established between them and the Government, including $5.5 billion for public health and $4.6 billion for education.
The proposal also includes $3.1 billion for families and children, $2.6 billion for retired public employee pension payments (PayGo), $1.3 billion, mostly to protect future public pensions from economic uncertainty, and $1.1 billion for obligations related to Debt. In addition, the certified budget includes a significant investment in the Government’s ability to provide effective services to the people of Puerto Rico.
As for the University of Puerto Rico (UPR), the certified budget includes an increase of $58 million, in accordance with Law 53-2021, in addition to $40 million, of which $20 million must be to ensure the accreditation needs of the Campus. of Medical Sciences.
In fiscal year 2023, the municipalities of Puerto Rico will have access to some $2.4 billion in financing, including stimulus funds from the federal government. Among the items included are $40 million as a “one-time economic support” to offset the effect of recent inflationary pressures.
“The investment in the revitalization of Puerto Rico and in the strengthening of the infrastructure will boost the economy of the Island and will expand the opportunities for the residents”Skeel said.
The budget includes $387 million in salary increases for public employees, additional positions and other initiatives related to personnel, and $322 million in infrastructure investments, mainly highways.
The governor reacts
“It is unfortunate that the legislative process related to the central government budget was very controversial and took too long. The majority legislative leadership wasted the opportunity to pass a Board-certifiable budget that included the priorities we had identified for the benefit of the people. My administration managed to get the Board to include many of our public policy initiatives that are positive for Puerto Rico, but other important ones were certainly missing. However, our people can be sure that we will continue to fight and work for the well-being of everyone on our Island,” Governor Pedro Pierluisi said in written expressions.