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martes, 28 de abril de 2009

Poll: Economic situation is serious, requires drastic action

Image and video hosting by TinyPic CARIBBEAN BUSINESS By : FRANCES RYAN A solid 83% of people polled said the island’s economic situation is serious and requires drastic and immediate measures. There is enough blame to go around, according to those surveyed, who believe all previous administrations are equally guilty for Puerto Rico’s dire economic situation. Gaither’s latest opinion poll, based on fieldwork conducted between Feb. 25 and March 11, consisted of 1,000 face-to-face interviews using an islandwide probability cluster, according to Gaither International. The scientific poll has a statistical margin of error of ±3.2%. Specifically, Gaither, the island’s leading market-research firm, asked respondents a series of questions regarding the current economic situation. “It also probed those surveyed on their perception of the measures that should be taken to alleviate the current crisis. Results were both surprising and shocking,” said Beatriz Castro, research analyst for Gaither International. “Not only do the people of Puerto Rico blame all previous administrations equally for the current economic situation, they also agree the situation is serious and requires drastic action. The response rate of 83% is dramatic by any standard and can be interpreted as a clear indicator of support for measures being taken by the current administration,” Castro said. So what should the government do? The poll found the vast majority of respondents, 84%, agree the size of government should be reduced significantly. More than half, 53%, said the government should be scaled back even at the expense of firing employees. “This significantly large percentage is indeed dramatic given the extreme dislike of having to fire government employees,” Castro said. In other words, the numbers show the majority of people of Puerto Rico have decided to support the Fortuño administration’s government employment-reduction plan as one of the measures to alleviate the deficit, the Gaither analyst said. However, the central government isn’t the only entity that should be on the chopping block. In fact, the majority of respondents believe the size of the Legislature should also be reduced significantly, including the elimination of full-time lawmakers. “They also believe the government should be more efficient in collecting the sales & use tax from local businesses and that taxes on alcohol and cigarettes should be increased,” Castro said. A significant percentage agreed the government should establish pay structures for contractors and government consultants. Meanwhile, seven out of every 10 respondents said the government should freeze pay raises for public employees.

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