Referendum Doesn’t Change Need for Fiscal Restraint in Puerto Rico
(Washington, D.C.) – In a non-binding referendum initiated and sponsored by the government of Puerto Rico, residents voted yesterday in favor of statehood for the Island. Turnout was lower than for a similar referendum in 2012 – with just 23 percent of voters participating. Statehood was supported by 97 percent of those voting, with options for independence and a continuation of commonwealth status trailing far behind.
Daniel Garza, President of The LIBRE Initiative, released the following statement:
“While turnout was disappointingly low, the election in Puerto Rico this weekend sends an important message to policymakers. Many supporters of statehood for the island turned out to make clear their desire for Puerto Rico to become a fully equal state in the United States, with all the responsibilities that entails.
Today, Puerto Rico is still confronting significant challenges. As the debate regarding the territory’s status continues, it is critical that leaders in San Juan remain focused on needed reforms to put the island on sound fiscal footing for whatever future it ultimately selects. While we applaud the Rosello Administration’s current efforts to rein in wasteful government spending, lift burdensome and costly regulations that stifle economic opportunity, and ensure that government spending is sustainable in the long term, other economic measures that unleash the vast capacities of the private sector must be implemented. History has made clear that big government and a growing debt burden do not work – for Puerto Rico or Washington. Leaders in San Juan should not wait for Washington to act; instead they should undertake these reforms on their own.”