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Tuesday, August 01, 2006 

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Government uses unemployment funds to cover payroll
By José Fernández Colón

PONCE (AP) – The Labor & Human Resources Department used more than $6.5 million meant for job creation in the private sector, to cover payroll expenses at La Fortaleza and several agencies instead at the beginning of the current fiscal year.

Labor & Human Resources Secretary Román Velasco confirmed that the money came from the Unemployment Insurance Fund. He also said it was the only way to avoid layoffs.

''Not just La Fortaleza, but other agencies were also short of money. That’s why we used Labor Department funds to give stability to several agencies,” Velasco said.

According to available information, $3 million were used for the Future Entrepreneurs Administration; $1.9 million for the Sports & Recreation Department; $415,000 for Cooperative Development, and $250,000 for the Rules & Permit Administration.

The Public Buildings Administration received $1.3 million; the Commonwealth Human Resources Office, $500,000; the Public Broadcasting Corporation also received $500,000; the Department of Consumer Affairs received $200,000, and the Labor Department, $2 million.

Law 52 of 1991 created salary incentives through which the fund was created to fight unemployment. The money comes from the special tax employers pay under Job Security Law.

''In 1991, the fund was created to boost job creation in the private sector, but the Rosselló administration opened the door to using those in the public sector, first through the summer jobs program and then with the employment vouchers system,” he said.

Only about $4 million went to the private sector.

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