In a surprise move the governor of Puerto Rico legalized medical marijuana. Alejandro Garcia Padilla signed an executive order ending prosecution for medical marijuana and effectively negating both commonwealth and federal law in the process.
Let’s get something straight up front. I think marijuana should be legal and I am all for emergency powers when they are needed. However, Governor Garcia Padilla does not have emergency authority to negate local laws much less federal law. His action represents the desperation his administration feels since the legislature recently balked on passing a staggering and dangerous 16& value added tax.
The irony here is that the Governor had refused to sign into law legislation legalizing and taxing marijuana within Puerto Rico only two years ago.
Meanwhile, instead of coming up with real solutions (many of which I have suggested here) he took to the microphone before a joint session of the legislature to attack the members of his party who were smart enough to know that a VAT would destroy what little was left of the island’s economy. He laid out a few proposals on what he would do now that time was running out.
The most pressing problem is that in just a few short weeks the government of Puerto Rico will be completely out of money. While the local Government Development Bank notified him that the entire government would have to shut down, he has decided to cut back hours of operation in order to keep the government afloat.
The only problem here is that like everything else his administration has done, it is treatment for the symptoms, not the cause. The cause of Puerto Rico’s financial problems are simple: the government is too big and public sector unions have too much power.
The government must be cut by no less than 30%. Public sector unions should be completely eliminated; or at the very least cut back significantly. A partial government shut down will not address the long term fiscal problems the island faces it will only extend the problem.
The partial shutdown could begin as early as June 1.
The governor is refusing to lay off workers because he got elected on the promise that he would not; as a way of separating him from his predecessor Luis Fortuño, who did lay off thousands of employees, but should have fired more. So he is choosing is political ass, over the future of the commonwealth.
This is why fundamental change is needed in Puerto Rico. The island needs a leader willing to make tough decisions and stand by them. Unfortunately, there is not one candidate who is offering the kind of change needed to save Puerto Rico.
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