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Gov. Rossello’s New Path Forward

With the 2017 status referendum vote just days away, statehood is expected to win in spite of calls for a boycott. If statehood is once again the majority position, Gov. Rossello will send a delegation to Washington in the move known as the Tennessee Plan, which helped not just Tennessee but also several more territories become states.

Then what? The governor has a plan he’s calling a “New Path Forward”.

Rossello claims that his administration has already saved significant amounts of money and intends to save more:

Recent Savings
Reductions in operating costs: $19,153,000
Reductions in services spending: $13,838,000
Reductions in payroll: $5,274,000
Projected Savings Based on New Budget:
Reductions in payroll: $1,975,500
Reductions in operating costs: $102,003,000
Reductions in services spending: $56,566,000

From the PRFAA

The governor also lists a number of projects in the works to spur economic growth:

  • A capital improvement plan intends to invest in Puerto Rico’s ports, both improving the infrastructure and providing immediate jobs.
  • A Permitting Reform Act will integrate all business permit requirements into a single system, which will allow completion of all licensing and permit applications at a single website, to be called One Stop-PR Doing Business. Gaining permits and licenses has historically been difficult.
  • Creation of a unified digital platform for the Puerto Rico government is intended to facilitate efficient, transparent communication.
  • Use of Title III will allow a court-supervised restructuring of Puerto Rico’s crippling debt.
  • Agreements have been reached with debt holders for PREPA, Puerto Rico’s electric utilities and with some other creditors.uerto Rico are

The governor lists healthcare and tax reform as “current challenges,” although Resident Commissioner Gonzalez-Colon has announced that the current U.S. Congress will meet on the possibility of extending the EITC to Puerto Rico and extensive talks on providing Medicaid equity for Puerto Rico are also taking place.

The current territorial status is also on the list of challenges. “Currently the 3.4 million U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico are subject to federal laws and can be treated unequally under those laws even though they lack voting representation in the U.S. Congress and cannot vote for the President of the U.S.,” the governor’s statement runs. “This democratic deficit has led to a multitude of unequal, inconsistent and incoherent federal laws and policies that have severely limited the island’s development, and have contributed greatly to the current fiscal, economic and demographic crisis. Therefore, to truly address Puerto Rico’s immediate and long-term prospects for economic growth and prosperity it is essential to resolve the current unequal and undemocratic territory status. We urge the U.S. Congress to pay attention to the forthcoming June 11th plebiscite, and to take action to implement its results.”

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