US-PR economic dialogue Part 4: A roadmap for governance & data
By The Star Staff
Participants in last week’s White House dialogue on strategies for jumpstarting Puerto Rico’s economic development agreed to the following actions regarding governance and data:
* The U.S. Department of the Treasury will enter into a memorandum of understanding with the island Treasury Department on long-term public finance capacity-building to help improve Puerto Rico’s administration of complex, technical governmental financial functions.
* The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Puerto Rico Family Department and other stakeholders will work together to build mutual understanding and capacity for any future transition from the Nutrition Assistance Program (known on the island by its Spanish acronym PAN) block grants currently provided to Puerto Rico to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as SNAP.
* The Puerto Rico Department of Education (PRDE), with technical assistance from the U.S. Department of Education (ED), will increase personnel and resources to build administrative capacity across the island’s school system. The PRDE and ED will also sign an agreement to advance long-term systemic improvements for management and administration of the school system.
* The federal Department of Transportation will pursue department-wide language translation services to develop resources in Spanish so that Puerto Rican stakeholders are better able to seek grant and formula funding opportunities.
* The National Council on Disability will provide technical assistance to both federal and Puerto Rico government agencies to ensure actions announced at the Economic Dialogue are implemented in a way that is inclusive of and accessible to people with disabilities.
* The government of Puerto Rico, with technical assistance from the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, will create an energy information portal to improve access to information about energy sector activities in Puerto Rico. The DOE will also disseminate initial results of the PR100 study, a comprehensive evaluation of the pathways for Puerto Rico to meet its target of 100% renewable energy by 2050 while improving reliability, resilience and energy justice.
* The government of Puerto Rico will expand its Citizen Information Portal to include the projects and actions committed to in the Economic Dialogue, in order to foster transparency and accountability for progress on these initiatives.
* The Census Bureau will develop Puerto Rico-specific core statistics and related products to facilitate better data and governance by Puerto Rican agencies including the departments of Economic Development and Commerce, Housing, and Labor and Human Resources.
* The federal Treasury Department will announce rates of uptake achieved for the Child Tax Credit (CTC) for Tax Year 2021 and support Puerto Rico’s marketing and administrative simplification efforts to ensure even more eligible families receive the CTC. This follows over a year of collaboration between White House, Treasury, government of Puerto Rico and local stakeholders to ensure a successful first-time implementation of the American Rescue Plan’s permanent expansion of the CTC in Puerto Rico.