Sunday, December 16, 2018

Fiscal board to publish certain Puerto Rico budget reapportionment requests

By on December 7, 2018

SAN JUAN – The Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico restated Friday its general policies in its review of the budget because of public concerns and announced it will publish all reapportionment requests, which currently total 40.

“There has been a great deal of public discussion with regards to the budget reapportionment process, notwithstanding our previous communications with the Government on this topic. For purposes of clarification, we issued a letter (Thursday) restating the general policies that we apply in our review, as well as the status of all outstanding reapportionment requests,” the board said in a statement.

“We hope this will be helpful in accelerating the review process. Moreover, to increase transparency, next week we will be publishing all reapportionment requests and our correspondence on our website, similar to our efforts on contract review. The Oversight Board will not, however, publish any reapportionment requests that the Oversight Board believes should remain confidential, e.g., those that would imperil public safety,” the board added.

Regarding its pending 40 budget reapportionment requests, the board said in the letter to the governor that it wants to engage in a collaborative process and outline key requirements of its reapportionment review process to enable quick decision-making and implementation.

First, reapportionments should not request to utilize funding from previous year General Fund (“GF”) appropriations, including budgetary reserves, which conflicts with section 5 of the Budget Joint Resolution from June 30, 2018. Second, reapportionments should not change the target and intentions of the rightsizing efforts, which would conflict with the New Fiscal Plan. Third, reapportionments within the General Fund should not request additional funding that would change the aggregate amount of Government spending and be in conflict with the certified Budget,” the board wrote to Office of Management and Budget Director José Marrero.

Fourth, all SRF unfreeze requests from prior years should include supporting documentation of the revenue source. Fifth, all SRF budgetary increases based on updated other source revenues should include adequate supporting documentation of the revenue source and be consistent with rightsizing targets and efforts. Sixth, reapportionments should not be made from the Fiscal Plan Emergency Reserve, Cost Sharing Match Custody Account, or Unallocated Capital Expenditures, unless consistent with the purposes of those appropriations. Seventh, all Federal Fund increase requests should include copies of the notices of awards,” the board stated.

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