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Oversight Board certifies Puerto Rico’s 1st compliant General Fund budget

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The Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico announced the certification of the first compliant general fund budget submitted by the government of Puerto Rico, a key element of the consolidated Fiscal 22 budget.

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi signed the $10.1 billion General Fund budget adopted and submitted by the Puerto Rico Legislature.

The Oversight Board certified it, together with a $3.5 billion special revenue fund budget and $7.8 billion federal fund budget, bringing the consolidated budget for the Puerto Rico government to $21.4 billion. 

The most significant spending in the consolidated budget continues to be health care ($4 billion) and education ($3.9 billion), each representing almost 20% of the total consolidated budget.

“The budget developed jointly by the Governor, the Legislature, and the Oversight Board is a significant achievement and an important step toward achieving fiscal responsibility and economic stability,” said the Oversight Board Chairman David Skeel.

“The Oversight Board, the governor, and the Legislative leadership cooperated more closely than in any previous year to ensure the budget prioritizes critical services that are so important for the lives of all residents of Puerto Rico,” he said.

In addition to the traditionally budgeted federal funds, the economy of Puerto Rico as a whole will benefit from an incremental $20 billion in federal stimulus funds related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including $1.9 billion in unemployment, an incremental $1.7 billion for food stamps, $476 million in small business support, and $2.5 billion in tax incentives. 

The Certified Fiscal Plan also estimates more than $3 billion in federal disaster recovery funds will be disbursed and invested in rebuilding in Fiscal 22, primarily from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Programs in response to the aftermath of Hurricane María in 2017 and the 2020 earthquakes. 

For example, the Department of Education will have access to $6.9 billion in federal funding from disaster recovery and COVID-19 related programs. Taken together with the regular annual budget, some $9 billion will be available for K-12 education in Puerto Rico after several very difficult years for students, teachers, and administrators. 

“The available funds create a unique opportunity to rebuild, recover, and improve education for the more than 250,000 students in the school system, but requires strategic planning to effectively utilize these funds,” the Oversight Board stated.

“The budget for the new fiscal year reflects Puerto Rico’s reality and Puerto Rico’s opportunity,” said the Oversight Board’s Executive Director Natalie Jaresko. “Taken together with the significant federal funds available as a result of the pandemic and disaster recovery, this budget offers historic levels of resources to invest in Puerto Rico’s recovery, stability, and economic growth.”

The Oversight Board also certified the fiscal year 2022 budgets for:

  • Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA)
  • Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA)
  • Puerto Rico Highways and Transportation Authority (HTA)
  • University of Puerto Rico (UPR)
  • Puerto Rico Sales Tax Financing Corporation (COFINA, in Spanish) 
  • Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company (PRIDCO)
  • Public Corporation for Supervision and Insurance of Cooperatives (COSSEC, in Spanish), and the
  • Municipal Revenues Collection Center (CRIM, in Spanish).

All budgets are available on the Oversight Board’s website.

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