Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello Nevares yesterday sent the territorial Financial Oversight and Management Board initial explanations of why Board-demanded changes to his latest proposed revised multi-year Fiscal Plan would not be implemented.
The letter did not cover eleven ‘required’ adjustments to the Plan’s baseline projections as the Governor still waits for advice on those.
The Governor advised the Board that he would submit a fourth proposed plan by the Board deadline of this coming Thursday but he emphasized that it would not include the Board-insisted upon:
- liberalization of labor laws;
- pension cuts;
- provisions for the independence of the electricity system regulatory authority; and
- measures regarding the establishment of a CFO office.
Other demands that Rossello rejected would:
- increase taxation of oil products;
- require all revenue to flow through the territorial government’s General Fund instead of special funds;
- retain the Institute of Statistics as an independent entity;
- reduce the budgets of the Ethics and Comptroller’s Offices;
- drop a plan to transfer some municipal government functions to new counties;
- institute traffic reduction ideas; and
- change plans regarding the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Rossello charged that “the Board continues to insist on arbitrarily imposing . . . regressive measures,” adding that “some of the Board’s suggested revisions would harm Puerto Rico’s economy, outweighing any savings they may generate.” He contended that these “would significantly depress macro-economic growth.”
The Governor also asserted that cost-saving recommendations that the Board made “are unnecessary in light of the Government’s proposed . . . $5.6 billion surplus over six years.”