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Gov’t assigns $20M to Puerto Rico 511 social wellness, education organizations

Gov. Wanda Vázquez signed Joint Resolution 737 to assign $20 million to semi-public, public and private entities and institutions whose activities or services tend to the development of programs and social welfare, health, education, culture and to improve the quality of life of Puerto Ricans.

The funds come from the Joint Budget Resolution for fiscal year 2020-2021, she said.

Centros Sor Isolina Ferré, Go Go Go Fundation, Make-A-Wish Foundation of Puerto Rico, the Puerto Rican League Against Cancer, SER de Puerto Rico, the Society for Deaf Children of Puerto Rico, the Ruth Home for Battered Women, and the Julia De Burgos Protected House are among 511 entities that will receive funding.

Other amounts that were included as reallocations, which were not part of the original $20 million, received a line veto, the governor said.

“Regarding the reallocations of funds from previous fiscal years that were included as amendments during the legislative process in the Joint Resolution, I’ve been forced to issue a line veto,” she said.

“Although I support such reallocations in principle, they’re contrary to Federal Court interpretations of the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act on this type of fund reallocations from previous years,” she said.

“Unfortunately, they have said on more than one occasion that it is necessary to get the endorsement in advance of the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico. For that reason, and to safeguard the $20 million in donations from the original measure, which would be at risk if the entire measure is paralyzed in court as part of a judicial process, I’ve vetoed the line items that they would create controversy by not using the proper process. This would have been disastrous for the more than 500 organizations that can now receive non-controversial funds,” Vázquez said.

Vázquez said she has asked the Office of Management and Budget to submit a Budgetary Approach to the Oversight Board so that it can evaluate and authorize the items she vetoed, so they can be addressed “without risking the disbursement of the $20 million allocation.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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