Bill to investigate CRIM operability passes Senate in unanimous vote
By The Star Staff
The island Senate on Monday passed in a unanimous vote Senate Resolution 613, authored by Sens. Gretchen Hau and Migdalia González Arroyo, which seeks to investigate the operations of the Municipal Revenue Collections Center (CRIM by its Spanish acronym) in relation to its structural capacity and human resources to comply with its obligations regarding the fees it is entitled to receive.
The CRIM receives about $40 million annually. Citizens have complained about increases in property taxes while the island’s mayors depend on revenue from the CRIM to operate.
González Arroyo, a former regional director at the CRIM, pointed out that “with this resolution we are handling the claims of the mayors of the 78 municipalities and CRIM employees who have indicated on many occasions that they do not have the necessary resources to carry out the work they must do.”
“We have also heard the claim of citizens who have come to the offices of the CRIM to challenge the receipts for [tax] collection from their properties, alleging that the new system, known as virtual appraisals, has significantly increased the value of the properties,” she added.
Hau said that as a former executive director of the Puerto Rico Mayors Association, she recognizes the importance of addressing the many governance and administration problems that for many years have made the CRIM ineffective when it comes to collecting revenue from property taxes. Furthermore, she said, given the impact that the current economic situation has on each of the 78 municipalities, “it is overdue and urgent to identify all effective alternatives for public administration within that body, emphasizing its responsibility to collect revenue.”
The legislators stressed the need to have specific data that allows an X-ray of the current situation at the CRIM and the possible use of technological mechanisms to improve its functions and responsibilities.
“The Legislature has decided to investigate the functional reality of the CRIM related to both its structural capacity and human resources and employees,” González Arroyo said. “We know that it is necessary to collect [property taxes] in the face of the situation in each of the municipalities, but they need to have the necessary tools. Our fellow citizens must pay what is fair and that is why this resolution was filed and approved.”