Hispanic Leadership Fund-led groups: Puerto Rico needs stronger oversight to recover
SAN JUAN – Hispanic Leadership Fund President Mario H. López and nine organizations sent a letter to key members of Congress, calling for a hearing on the lack of progress made by the Puerto Rico Financial Oversight and Management Board since it was established 18 months ago.
“HLF is proud to lead a coalition of free-market organizations to call for stronger congressional oversight into the ongoing financial crisis in Puerto Rico. With much of the island still suffering from the recent hurricanes, the need for constructive reforms that would help the people of Puerto Rico is now stronger than ever,” López said in a statement issued last week.
Puerto Rico has struggled with a debt of more than $70 billion, for which the Promesa federal law was approved, with the intention of achieving Puerto Rico’s economic recovery but movement toward “substantive reforms” has been lacking since then, the groups said.
“PROMESA was created to chart a path forward, to restructure Puerto Rico’s debt and provide for an agreement between creditors and the island, but that goal fades every day as the Oversight Board becomes less and less transparent in its actions,” the letter reads.
Concern over fiscal board Executive Director Natalie Jaresko’s links to a “taxpayer-funded investment fund” called Western NIS Enterprise Fund (WNISEF) is expressed in the missive, which adds she collected $1.77 million in bonuses, despite compensation set at $150,000. The letter points out that of the $60 million “taxpayer-funded” budget for the fiscal board, Jaresko receives a $625,000 salary, “over 31 times more than the average family makes” on the island.
“Congress created the Oversight Board to make the tough decisions that politicians often are reluctant to make and put Puerto Rico on a path towards economic growth,” López adds. “The Oversight Board has failed in its basic goal and has ignored the basic precepts set forth in PROMESA of accuracy, transparency, respect for lawful priorities or liens, and a credible plan to get Puerto Rico on a path toward fiscal stability.”
Several organizations joined HLF on the issue including the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, Frontiers of Freedom, Americans for Limited Government, the Center for Freedom and Prosperity, Independent Women’s Voice, the Market Institute, Consumer Action for a Strong Economy, 60 Plus Association and Independent Women’s Forum.
Washington, D.C.-based HLF considers itself a center-right non-partisan advocacy organization “dedicated to strengthening working families by promoting common-sense public policy solutions that foster individual liberty, opportunity, and prosperity.”
The letter can be read here.