Fiscal board warns Puerto Rico gov’t: We have sole discretion to certify budget
SAN JUAN – The Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico warned the commonwealth government on Tuesday that despite the Court of Appeals’ decision Friday, requiring that its members be approved by the Senate, that the U.S. District Court in San Juan upheld its certified budget, prohibiting reapportionments without its consent.
The board issued a statement following Puerto Rico House Speaker Johnny Méndez saying his chamber was ready to consider any reallocation of funds proposed by the executive.
Boston’s court said the fiscal board can remain for 90 days with their authority unchallenged until the U.S. president and the Senate either validate or reconstitute it as per the Constitution’s appointments clause.
“There is no doubt that the recent decision of the Court of Appeals in Boston leaves open the door to review certain aspects related to the determinations of the Fiscal Control Board (JCF). We understand, from recent expressions made by the governor, that the executive will be evaluating possible relocation of resources within the current budget. This House of Representatives will be well aware of these recommendations for reallocation of funds, exercising its prerogative to develop, change, approve and ensure the distributions of the budget of the Government of Puerto Rico,” Speaker Méndez said in a release Tuesday morning.
The board cited the District Court’s opinion Aug. 7, holding that the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act (Promesa) “commits to the Oversight Board the sole discretion to determine whether proposed budgets are consistent with PROMESA’s requirements, and sole power to certify, and thus put into effect, budgets while the Board is in place.”
The board said it work monitoring the government’s financial and budgetary performance during the current fiscal year “remains uninterrupted,” as well as “the numerous other budgetary resolutions in the certified budget,” and has started to work with the administration and the legislature to prepare the budget for the coming fiscal year.