Aponte Hernández Requests to Certify Fund Availability Before Law Approval
SAN JUAN (INS)–New Progressive Party (NPP) Rep. José Aponte Hernández requested on Thursday that House Bill 3001, which would reinstate the requirement of fund availability for any law that calls for the disbursement of public funds, be included for discussion during the Legislature’s next extraordinary session.
“At the beginning of this government term, the delegation of the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) amended Act 103 of 2006, better known as the Fiscal Reform Act, to eliminate the requirement to certify funds by the Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Finance”, Aponte said.
He added the requirement originally “allowed the true fiscal impact of each bill under the Legislature’s consideration to be known. House Bill 3001 would reinstate this necessary requirement.”
NPP Reps. Jennifer González Colón and Carlos Méndez Núñez, as well as House Finance Committee Chairman Rafael Hernández Montañez, submitted the bill June 21 in co-authorship with Aponte Hernández.
“This bill, which is vital to the effective management of state resources, was approved in a bipartisan manner, with a vote of 46-2, with six absentees, on June 25, but unfortunately the Senate did not give the necessary approval due to the legislative halt imposed by [Senate President] Eduardo Bhatia,” explained Aponte. “The bill is very important in order to not only foster the proper use of public funds, but also transparency in the government’s administrative functions.”
Aponte went on to explain that Section 204 (a) of Promesa (Puerto Rico Oversight Management and Economic Stability Act) establishes that the governor will send each approved law to the fiscal oversight board for their revision,
However, there are exceptions to this rule, particularly when the governor provides the board with an estimate on the fiscal impact for that approved law, such as a certification from an approved governmental entity that confirms the law is compatible with the applicable fiscal plan.
That is why, to his knowledge, “the approval of H.B. 3001 would comply with the exceptions of said section and, as a result, approved laws would not need to be revised by the board.”
“In the same way, a formal system would be established, by which the Office of Management and Budget or any other appropriate governmental entity would make available an estimate of the impact of the legislation regarding the gains and losses,” Aponte went on. “This is the process that Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi, who has worked with and best knows the details of Promesa and its effects, has requested the governor to carry out.”