The request of the mayors before the Fiscal Board for a moratorium on the elimination of the Equalization Fund vanishes

With the approval of the budget provided by the Fiscal Oversight Board (JSF), the mayors Yesterday they saw their request vanish for the federal entity in charge of the island’s finances to grant them a two-year moratorium on the elimination of the Equalization Fund..

This fund, which allocates money to municipalities through remittances from the Municipal Revenue Collection Center (CRIM), is destined to disappear in 2024, according to the certified fiscal plan. The mayors asked the Board for a moratorium, and the federal entity replied that this would be subject to the budget approved by the Legislature.

The budget discussed by the legislative Assembly and that it was approved yesterday -after the Board certified its own budget- contained an item of $44 million for the Equalization Fund. That figure would have extended the life of the pot of money, which only has $44 million.

“Without the $44 million, there is no moratorium,” said Villalba’s chief executive and president of the Mayors Association, Luis Javier Hernandez Ortiz.

The mayor, prior to the final decision of the Board, continued to call on legislators to cease their struggles and put “the country first.”

Hernández Ortiz was preparing to march -with his counterparts- from the offices of the Association of Mayors, in Puerta de Tierra, to the Capitol when the Board’s determination to certify its own budget, amounting to $28,000 million, for the next fiscal year was lowered.

The chief executive of Camuy and president of the Federation of Mayors, Gabriel Hernandezsaid that now “essential services in the municipalities are put at risk.”

The leaders of the Association and the Federation of Mayors maintain that, with the elimination of the Equalization Fund, some 24 municipalities would lose between 50% and 70% of their income, and another three would stop receiving 70% or more of what they enter today in their coffers.

Among the most affected municipalities are Adjuntas, Barranquitas, Comerío, Florida, Las Marías, Maricao, Maunabo, Orocovis, Patillas and Villalba.

The budget approved by the Board provides $2.4 billion in financing for the municipalities, which includes stimulus funds from the federal government. It also includes another $40 million as a “one-time economic support” to offset the effect of recent inflationary pressures.

“That could replace or compensate for the loss of the Equalization Fund, but we have to see what conditions they have or what the Board imposed on it,” said the president of the House Commission of Finance, holy jesus.

Actions in the Chamber

After the certification of the Board of its own budget, the Chamber finally approved its with the votes against the delegation of the New Progressive Party (PNP), after 8:30 pm, in an attempt to stipulate the government’s priorities. from Puerto Rico.

“It gives the governor the strength of a government statement and this is important… the Executive now, with this tool of a balanced and signed budget, can go before the Board and demand the execution of public policy,” said the Governor. cameral leader Rafael “Tatito” Hernández on the exercise by ruling out that it was academic.

The spokesman for the New Progressive Party (PNP) delegation in the Chamber, Carlos “Johnny” Méndez, maintained that the approved legislation ruled out funds for salary increases for employees of Medical Emergencies, correctional guards and firefighters.

“They also took money from the deaf community in Puerto Rico, and that is what makes the PNP delegation vote against it,” he said. “Here, we are full of good intentions for the people of Puerto Rico, majority and minority, but when it is bad, it is voted against, it is discarded, it is pointed out,” he said.

The spokesperson for the Citizen Victory Movement (MVC) in the Chamber, Mariana Nogales, described the chamber vote as an undignified exercise, and maintained that the Board defined its budget proposal through “whims.” “We will be doing an exercise, I would say unworthy because the Board also violates the dignity of this legislative body and of the Puerto Rican people,” she said.

The Board yesterday also certified the updated Fiscal Plan for the Electric Power Authority (PREPA), which “defines the next steps in the transformation of Puerto Rico’s energy system” in order to improve the quality of life of Puerto Ricans and drive economic development.

The journalist Leysa Caro González collaborated with this story.

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