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The following article was published after Gov. Fortuno’s State of the Commonwealth address on Tuesday night. His address highlights many areas in which the current administration has taken drastic measures including: Energy through a new natural gas pipeline, restored and retained credit rating to the island, huge budget cuts reducing the deficit, and a measurable reform to the tax system. But have the changes been felt by the island’s people?
By : JOHN MARINO, Caribbean Business
Gov. Luis Fortuño used his State of the Commonwealth address Tuesday night to highlight his administration’s achievements, telling Puerto Ricans that “in only two years, we have completed our pledge of bringing you a true change of good government.”
The governor said that his administration inherited a government on the verge of insolvency and in two years managed to:
— Stabilize government finances
— Pay off more than $1.5 billion in past bills
— Reduce the $3.3 billion budget deficit by 75%
— Save Puerto Rico’s credit rating and with it thousands of jobs, and the values of homes and individual retirement accounts
— Get positive ratings from credit rating agencies
The governor also discussed several of the reforms his administration instituted over the past two years, including creating a new permit system that makes it easier for everyone, but especially small and midsized businesses, to expand, grow and create jobs, and instituting an energy reform that will reduce Puerto Rico’s excessive dependence on foreign oil in favor of cleaner and safer sources such as natural gas, solar and wind. Read the rest of this entry »
By: Marshall Kirby, Public Policy Analyst
Mr. Kirby joins The National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce with an experienced background in Public Policy Analysis. He has worked for Americans for Informed Democracy, the Center for US Global Engagement, and for local governments in Virginia on issues ranging from international finance, national security, and other areas of foreign and domestic policy. He holds a Master of International Development Degree from the University of Pittsburgh.
In the news, a lot of time and coverage has been spent on the issue of taxes and the responsible course of action of spurring economic growth in a recession and balancing real concerns of government deficits when major spending cuts are no longer politically feasible. In Washington, there is a lot of political rhetoric surrounding tax cuts and tax credits for the middle class and small businesses or whether increasing taxes on the top earners and large corporations will bring relief to the struggling or help pull the country out of the recession. In Puerto Rico, there are similar talks, especially as the governor has announced a new policy which has left many at odds over the decision.
Luis Fortuno, the young governor of the island, has made a shocking move that has left differing stakeholders at odds. Read the rest of this entry »