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González Says Moratorium Act Changes Should Keep Acosta from Heading Fiscal Advisory Board

By on April 19, 2016

SAN JUAN – House Bill 2864, which seeks to amend the recently enacted Puerto Rico Emergency Moratorium & Financial Rehabilitation Act, aims to prevent Melba Acosta, who chairs and presides the commonwealth’s Government Development Bank (GDB), from also taking over the helm of fiscal agent and consulting authority created by the act, Jenniffer González, the House minority spokesperson for the New Progressive Party (NPP), said Tuesday.

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Jenniffer González, House minority spokesperson for the NPP

The legislator and pre-candidate for resident commissioner in the party’s ticket said certain clauses in the bill were included due to “Acosta’s negative track record in charge of government finances, which have earned a lack of trust in the markets and in the Legislature itself.”

The act currently gives the governor the sole power to appoint an executive director for the new fiscal entity, but amendments proposed in the bill would require the Senate to approve any appointments. Also, the appointee would also become ineligible if she or he occupied any position in the GDB or worked for the bank under contract for five years previous to being appointed.

“One of the amendments protects the accounts of the municipalities so they are not vulnerable to any internal or external action provoked by the [Moratorium Act’s] approval,” González added. To such an effect, the GDB would have to honor any withdrawal or transfer request from municipalities. “The NPP delegation added a clause that extends the applicability of this requirement to deposits made from municipal sales tax collections, property taxes, and any special funds created through such instruments,” the minority House leader noted.

“This would allow municipalities to make their deposits in private banks,” she added. “Nothing in this law should force municipalities to deposit their funds in the GDB.”

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