Dear Governor García Padilla: Questions from Global Puerto Rico

Today in New York as part of my duties as Digital Media Director for Futuro Media Group, I will be attending the Ravitch Fiscal Reporting Program’s journalism seminar about Puerto Rico’s fiscal crisis. A portion of the agenda will include a Skype appearance by Alejandro García Padilla, Puerto Rico’s governor. As I was preparing for this seminar, I asked my Facebook and Twitter communities what questions do they have for Gov. García Padilla.

Alejandro Garcia Padilla (Photo via US Dept of Labor)

Alejandro Garcia Padilla (Photo via US Dept of Labor)

These are the questions they passed on to me, both in English and in Spanish.

What steps are being taken to stem the massive emigration out of Puerto Rico?

How taxing Puerto Rican veterans’ pensions helps to fix the crisis and how does the commonwealth stop the veteran population exodus to the U.S.?

How come no one seems to want to collaborate and or cooperate in regards to solving this and the many other grave issues the island faces?

When will he demand Oscar Lopez Rovera’s Freedom?

Why is it better to cut public employees’ salaries by 10% (by eliminating two days per month for everyone) instead of laying off 10% of public employees? How will you avoid a government shutdown in September? If last year’s budget, in your own words, was the first balanced budget ever, how come this fiscal year will close with a deficit yet again? Which of your campaign promises have you kept?
How can an economy grow by taxing it more? Does putting money in the Government’s hands a more efficient way grow the economy than putting money in the people’s hands? Do you believe that Government funds are being administered prudently? Why should anyone lend money to the Puerto Rico Government if the PR Government Development Bank is saying it will very likely run out of funds by September of this year?
Are the tens of tousands the island is spending a month on lobbyists in the US yielding any results?
How can you market PR as a medical tourism destination at the same time that you spend $$$ on ads in the US saying the island is in the middle of a healthcare crisis?
How much exactly did the government pay the US advisor to talk about the water situation and infrastructure and what exactly did she do and how come no one from the UPR seemed to be available to do the same for way less?
What is the plan to make sure the island tourism doesn’t take a dive when Cuba is completely opened to US tourists?
Will the United States be more or less inclined to grant Puerto Rico its independence if the nation continues to slide into further debt?
Pregunta: EU. tiene obligación moral de auxiliar a PR de muchas maneras: 1-enviando.dinero. 2- eliminando ley de cabotaje. 3- considerarían hacer estado a PR?
Qué piensa de una Soberanía para PR en término de continúa relación con americanos? Cuánto daño le ha hecho el PNP a PR con su obstrucción ? Todavía cree que IVA es lo mejor para PR?
Instead of imposing yet another round of regressive taxes, why not redouble efforts to capture income tax? The narrative that rampant tax evasion is inevitable needs to change. Cut fat from bloated agencies, transfer funds to Hacienda, hire more inspection agents and auditors, partner with the IRS, catch some “bichotes” in La Milla de Oro, Dorado, etc and make a big public splash with perp walks so it may have a chilling effect on others. With these measures you don’t even have to raise taxes. You just have to aggressively tackle tax evasion and not just accept it. Not a panacea but a well-implemented and executed plan should make a dent.
What logic did anyone follow to borrow the billions that are now sandbagging the island? Does anyone have a full accounting?
Tough economic decisions must be taken that could render you political kryptonite at the polls. Are you ready to take them?
Come November 2016, why should Puerto Ricans vote for you? What do you need to accomplish from now until then to regain the voters’ trust?
What is the role of the US government in addressing Puerto Rico’s current crisis?
Ask him about trickle down economics. Does it exist? Can you cite solid examples that haven’t ended in a fast and burn crash? Tostones in the morning, yes or no? I think you will be able to determine the character of a person based on that one single question.
¿Qué de verdad piensa hacer el gobierno del país para evitar que mi generación se sigan mudando de la isla? La mayoría de los jóvenes entre 18 a 30 años se van porque saben que hay mejores oportunidades en E.U. ¿Así que, que van a hacer al respecto antes de que toda la población trabajadora envejezca sin que tengan a la juventud que luego los remplaze?
As a candidate for Governor, he met with a group of local Boricuas at the Center for PR Studies and pledged that his number one priority would be to lure the diaspora back to the island. With the island bleeding more Boricuas than any other time in history, why is he only rolling out the red carpet for billionaires and assorted vulture capitalists?


Julio (Julito) Ricardo Varela (@julito77) founded in May, 2011 and proceeded to open it up to about 20 like-minded Rebeldes. A 1990 Harvard graduate in the History and Literature of Latin America, he pens columns on LR regularly. Julito has represented the Rebeldes on several outlets such as MSNBCCBSNPRUnivision and The New York Times. Recently, he was a digital producer for Al Jazeera America’s The Stream and is currently the Digital Media Director for Futuro Media Group.

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