Rosselló to explain his fiscal plan for Puerto Rico in State of the Commonwealth message
SAN JUAN – With expectations running high about learning how, when and where the government will make the adjustments that will be proposed to the fiscal control board, Gov. Ricardo Rosselló will deliver his first “State of the Commonwealth” message Tuesday at 5:15 p.m., local time.
The event will take place in the House of Representatives, where it is expected that, for about an hour, the governor will explain to the people of Puerto Rico what is included in the fiscal plan the government must deliver Tuesday to the oversight body established by Promesa.
The governor told Caribbean Business in a recent interview that his administration will present a series of measures consisting of cuts and revenue increases that would result in the eventual bridge of a budget gap that exceeds $7 billion.
Rosselló and several government officials have assured they will neither lay off public employees nor reduce work hours and vowed to protect the most vulnerable sectors of Puerto Rico, including public retirees. They also insist that the implementation of the government’s Single Employer Act as well as a new public healthcare program will result in savings that will help the government balance its checkbook.
“He will establish a contrast between what was presented in the past by the former administration in the previous plan, between what the board presented in January as the parameters of the board in its conceptual framework and what the government of Puerto Rico is presenting as an alternative,” Elías Sánchez, the administration’s representative to the board, said in a WKAQ580 radio interview.
Although the official assured the plan “will fulfill the board’s requirements,” Rosselló has said it is possible it may take the government more than two years to close the fiscal gap identified by the federal entity. It remains to be seen whether the governor will say in his message that, although his measures would balance the budget, he would need the board to green light a longer time period to do it.
In his message, the governor is also expected to address the various measures he has presented so far to establish fiscal control and economic development such as labor reform, the approval of incentives for doctors, changes to the Public-Private Partnerships Act, as well as the creation of nonprofit entities to promote tourism and foreign investment.
Likewise, Rosselló is expected to speak about initiatives that his administration will be presenting in the immediate future, such as tax reform.