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Conducting a robust analysis of the finances of a municipality may take a long time. Furthermore, the amount of information and expertise required to complete this analysis represents a major challenge for most citizens. Although mayors can submit their own conclusions about the fiscal health of their municipality, these criteria could be based on unverifiable information. They may also obviate criteria that are not favorable for the municipality. New research by the Center for Integrity in Public Policy (CIPP) ranks all 78 municipalities in Puerto Rico based on data from the audited financial statements. The development of this standard measurement system provides an objective tool to help citizens to evaluate and compare the financial condition of their municipality.

In developing this index we discovered how precarious the finances of most municipalities are. For example, in 2013 a total of 50 municipalities had a deficit of revenues over expenditures and 43 municipalities had a negative fund balance in their general fund. Comparing 2013 and 2014, we saw positive changes in most indicators, indicating that municipalities improved how they handled their finances, particularly in the indicators associated with fiscal performance. However, the indicators associated with long-term debt continued to worsen for most municipalities.

Click HERE to learn more about the Financial Health Index for Puerto Rico Municipios 2013 (in Spanish).

Click HERE to learn more about the Financial Health Index for Puerto Rico Municipios 2014 (in Spanish).

We will publish the 2015 financial health index during the summer of 2016. This recurrent publication allows citizens to monitor the fiscal health of their municipalities and assess whether the strategies and measures taken by mayors are working.