Ricardo Rosselló: the governor on his statehood push, fiscal measures, and plan to get Puerto Rico out of the crisis

by | May 8, 2017 | Headlines, Puerto Rico | Comments

“Are we satisfied as US citizens that the United States is the owner of a territory?” Governor Rosselló asked this question at another meeting with members conservative media on Saturday, April 28, 2017.  As part of a movement to spread the word about Puerto Rico, the statehood movement, and the upcoming plebiscite the Rosselló administration sat down with media for a quick informational meeting and update. Rosselló spoke about the impending plebiscite as well as what his administration has been doing in the meantime to recover from the economic crisis. Confident that the future is bright for the island and that despite the legal stay deadline fast approaching, he is assured that the idea that the end of the world is coming is a “false narrative.”

The Governor has set out to ensure the successful transition into statehood for the islands of Puerto Rico. When speaking to members of the media, Rosselló stressed the measures to control spending and move Puerto Rico back onto a fiscally stable and responsible path. Realizing though, that there is a hugely disproportionate amount of government spending and that the corruption that plagued the island over years is not going to disappear overnight. Though Rosselló is a self-professed Democrat, many of the policy prescriptions he is enacting are fairly conservative in principle, including the extreme downsizing of government institutions and the expansion of the free market enterprises across the island. These he believes, are a way to encourage fiscal prosperity. However, where he diverts from the right, is in the portion of his labor reform where he wants to increase the unemployment pay as well as several tax additions.

When questioned about the tax policies on the island and how the raise in the unemployment would work, Rosselló indicated that islands were in need of severe structural reform, noting that tax evasion in Puerto Rico is prevalent and the remaining tax paying base was facing the consequences. “We have the lowest tax payments in the states” he said, “…there are about 300,000 – 400,000 houses that are not in our property tax system.”  With the structural reforms already taking place, Rosselló is hoping for more dollars in the budget, and more ways to ensure that the people are following the law and that the Puerto Rico government can run smoothly. Rosselló said he is interested in lowering general taxes to encourage better economic growth, but believes that the best way to do so is to have more of the population base paying.

With the massive cuts and easier access to free market, with red tape and permit reduction reforms, Rosselló aims to create a Puerto Rico that would be an immense value added to America as a nexus of tourism, diplomacy, medical tourism, and would be a cost saving addition to the states by creating work and jobs on the Island to stop the exodus. While he understands the “philosophical need for independence,” equality to the states is what he believes is best for the people in the long run.

While we were in the office with him, Governor Rosselló signed into law three bills: one with 10 additional measures to the fiscal bill, one with structural change to tariffs, and the last one containing amendments to traffic laws and a charge on internet sales tax.