The magnitude of the island’s complex problems calls for a weighting attitude, based on prudence, detachment and genuine commitment from the political class, whose mission is to help restore the stability of its people.
The path to rid the island of fiscal and economic stagnation is clearly away from the prolongation of controversies that undermine the chances of achieving agreements for citizen welfare.
It is therefore commendable the position of the governor to look for opportunities to rectify the budgetary approach adopted by the Legislative Assembly, based on the conflict and the challenge to the Oversight Board. The Governor proposed the path of reasonableness and prudence to reach understandings that can keep labor benefits such as the Christmas bonus. Taking advantage of this situation will allow the legislative bodies to validate the budget agreements reached between the Executive and the Board and also to process additional measures such as the tax reform, in compliance with the fiscal plan and PROMESA.
The extraordinary session would allow reconsidering the proposal of Senator Miguel Romero to extend the benefits of Act 100 against employment discrimination and assign to it protections included in Law 80 of Unjust Dismissal, whose repeal was rejected by the Senate.
The extraordinary session also includes a legislation to reduce the Sales and Use Tax from 11.5 to 7 percent, channelling flexible payment plans to municipalities and special bonuses for workers.
The discussion space created is appropriate to avoid the possibility of a lawsuit challenging the powers of the Board and the budget version that the agency certified and came into effect on July 1, in response to the Legislature’s stubbornness.
It is encouraging in this context that the Board, through its Executive Director, Natalie Jaresko, declares that it is not inclined to initiate litigation to force the implementation of the certified budget. We agree in the acknowledgment that going to court represents an unwise route, incurring in the loss of time and economic resources.
The consensus goal is to ensure that the distribution of expenditures for the 2017-2018 fiscal year is aimed towards achieving non-deficit budgets within five years. The objective is advancing towards discipline in the management of government coffers.
The program of fiscal adjustment and stabilization of public finances demands concrete actions to show that there is unity of purpose and political will to meet these island’s objectives.
The non-payment of the debt for the past three years delays the start of capital reinvestment, so it is imperative that the government focuses its resources and efforts in agreeing conditions for a restructuring of the $ 70 billion debt from a favorable approach for the island.
To delay the implementation of the budget and structural reforms that must be legislated is to keep Puerto Rico hostage of uncompromising attitudes and personal interests that reflect the inability of leading in the direction needed when facing a state of insolvency.
The political class must transcend the fragmented vision that prevents the broad view of the picture of urgent needs that urgently need to be addressed. That moment is now.
It is time to make the common good prevail over partisan selfishness. When the economic recovery and the future of the people are at stake, the disagreement and confrontation strategies are a betrayal to Puerto Rico. Common sense has to prevail.
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