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Government Officials are in Denial, House Treasury Committee Chairman says

By on January 18, 2016

SAN JUAN – House Treasury Committee Chairman Rafael “Tatito” Hernández denounced that some government officials are in denial about the gravity of Puerto Rico’s fiscal crisis.

While he did not single anyone out, Hernández said he will be citing officials to public hearings to force them to internalize the seriousness of the situation.

“The fiscal problem of Puerto Rico will not be resolved until officials recognize there is no single solution. The government’s problem is complicated and it will not be solved by any single measure or action. It has been 18 months since we declared an emergency to protect health, public safety and essential government services to citizens, invoking sections 18 and 19 of Article II of our Constitution. Unfortunately, there are elected and not-elected officials who are alienated from this reality,” Hernández said in a released statement.

He said that just days after the governor used an executive order to redirect revenues to public corporations so they could access the capital markets and invest in infrastructure required for operations, “I run into public servants, businessmen and ordinary people who are simply in denial,” the legislator said.

Hernández added he will cite to hearings the managers, union leaders, contractors and creditors of public corporations, except the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, whose board recently approved increasing the pension of a former executive director from $5,000 to $9,000.

Some of the topics to be discussed in the hearings include the reality of financial institutions and their dependence on the General Fund; alternatives for real autonomy of the entities; the amount of accumulated debts payable to suppliers, contractors and employees, and alternatives to fulfill or finance them; reducing the risk of public financing by copying the Sales Tax Financing Corp. (Cofina by its Spanish acronym) model; and the economic impact of having healthy public corporations.

“The situation is urgent, and the reality is we will not be able to advance anything without acknowledging the mistakes that were made to get us to where we are now. Together as a country, we have to correct those mistakes to stay afloat,” Hernández said.

By Eva Lloréns Vélez

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