The Government of Puerto Rico currently faces the worst fiscal crises in decades, if not ever. Financing alternatives have been shut down and fewer funds are coming in through taxes in the shrinking economy. After trying and failing to restructure $69 billion in debt the island owes to creditors and Puerto Rico’s previous governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla did not run for reelection. Further, a federal indictment has alleged that his administration has been guilty of cronyism and favoritism (Though this behavior is not endemic to this last administration or political party.)
There is now a newly appointed Federal Fiscal Control Board that has been granted wide and deep authority over all of Puerto Rico’s financial affairs. Depending on the perspective this has been greeted with hope or outrage, but the final measure of its value will be whether they can make the tough decisions to turn the island’s economy around. This Board must demand fundamental reform because left up to the political parties alone the island will never turn its economy around. An important part of this necessary reform is changing how the government currently purchases its goods and services. The government must bring the bidding process for public projects into the 21st century or the island’s economy will continue its collapse.