The congressional hearing on “The Need for the Establishment of a Puerto Rico Financial Stability and Economic Growth Authority” that was scheduled for January 26th has been rescheduled for February 2nd due to weather related complications.
Though witnesses have not yet been officially announced, Mayor Anthony Williams of Washington, D.C., is expected to be one of the people testifying. Williams was D.C.’s chief financial officer when a fiscal control board was appointed to help the nation’s capital overcome a fiscal crisis in the 1990s and is now a senior advisor at Dentons. Simon Johnson, the Ronald A. Kurtz Professor of Entrepreneurship at the MIT Sloan School of Management and a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, is also expected to speak. Johnson has spoken in favor of an oversight board to improve Puerto Rico’s “idiosyncratic tax and expenditure system.” Johnson has also spoken in favor of chapter 9 access for Puerto Rico.
El Nuevo Dia listed a few other witnesses “known to El Nuevo Dia“: Carlos Garcia, former president of the Government Development Bank; financial expert James Spiotto; and bankruptcy lawyer Thomas Moers Mayer, representing one of the Island’s major creditors.
Pedro Pierluisi, Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner, has several times said that he would “accept” an oversight board only if the board were respectful of Puerto Rico’s local control and only if it were paired with assistance and restructuring options. Puerto Rico’s governor also insists that an oversight board is acceptable only if it comes along with chapter 9 bankruptcy options. Governor Garcia Padilla proposed in November that he should nominate a local oversight board, but this suggestion was rejected by creditors and the federal government.
During his recent visit to Puerto Rico, Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew spoke in favor of an oversight board that respects Puerto Rico’s system of self-government. “It would be a mistake for anyone to think there’s a plan B that comes anywhere near to being as effective,” Lew said following a meeting with the governor.