Cost of statehood plan for Puerto Rico revealed
SAN JUAN – The Puerto Rico government published Thursday a document it sent to the fiscal board on the impact of Act 30, or the Law for Equality and Congressional Representation of the American Citizens of Puerto Rico. In it, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) certified that Act 30 will have an impact of about $373,800 in government spending for fiscal year 2018.
The legislation establishes an Equality Committee comprised by five representatives and two senators who will request the island’s annexation to the United States via statehood before Congress, a strategy commonly known as the Tennessee Plan, for the first state to utilize it.
The fiscal board, created by the federal Promesa law, grants seven days after a law is signed to certify it, and that term concluded Wednesday for the legislation that establishes the Tennessee Plan for the island.
“The Office of Management and Budget (“OGP,” by its Spanish acronym) estimates an impact of approximately $373,800 on the expenses of the Government for fiscal year 2018 for statutorily allowed reimbursements and stipends. Act 30 has no impact on the revenues of the Government,” reads the compliance certificate with the logos of Puerto Rico’s OMB, Treasury Department and Fiscal Agency and Financial Advisory Authority (FAFAA).
The seven members of Congress the governor designates to the Equality Committee by June 30 won’t have a salary, but will receive a stipend and have their expenses reimbursed. Nominees must be confirmed by the Puerto Rico legislature. The money will be taken from funds allocated to the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration, which by the next fiscal year will have a $14 million increase to its budget, for a total $90 million.
The plan’s cost was revealed as Gov. Ricardo Rosselló is in Washington, D.C., announcing the results of the June 11 political-status referendum, in which statehood triumphed with 97 percent of votes. Only 23 percent of voters participated in the plebiscite.