Fiscal Board Grants Gov’t More Time for Budget Improvements
SAN JUAN – The fiscal control board has granted 14 additional days to the government of Puerto Rico to improve the draft of the budget it submitted April 30, before the board approves or calls for changes to the budget.
The board informed the government of its intention to grant the additional days through a letter on May 8 to Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz and House Speaker Carlos “Johnny” Méndez.
“We have received a working document on the proposed budget and we are reviewing the submitted document,” the letter signed by Chairman José Carrión reads.
According to the original timeline set by the board to evaluate the budget of the coming fiscal year, which begins July 1, the board was to answer on May 8 if it approved the proposed budget document or whether it would request changes before the budget was sent to the Legislature.
However, “the board will grant 14 additional days to amend and improve the submitted document before [the board] approves it or identifies violations,” the letter reads.
Meanwhile, neither the Rosselló administration nor the board has yet to accede to publishing the budget documents submitted by the government on April 30, alleging these are “working documents,” not the final products and are confidential.
In addition to the draft budget of the government’s general fund, which is expected to be of about $9.3 billion, the board also received revised liquidity projections and the fiscal plan’s implementation schedule. However, the letter from the board does not make any mention of these two documents.
Furthermore, the government will have to answer by May 11, a request for mandamus filed by former Senate President and current Popular Democratic Party Minority Leader Eduardo Bhatia, which calls for the immediate publication of the budget documents presented to the board.
Public Affairs Secretary Ramón Rosario said earlier this week that the government will answer the legal action in a timely manner and will argue that the working document is not subject to disclosure.