Passage Of Promesa Won’t Impact Next Year’s Budget
SAN JUAN—The passage of the Puerto Rico Oversight Management and Economic Stability Act (Promesa), the bill that would impose a federal oversight board over Puerto Rico, will not impact the 2016-17 fiscal budget, House Treasury Committee Chairman Rafael “Tatito” Hernández said on Wednesday.
Hernández said the budget’s language is ample enough to allow adjustments in the budget during the fiscal year. “If we do negotiations, the budget allows readjustments. We can repeal allocations or reduce some,” he said.
The federal oversight board is slated to ensure the government implements balanced budgets and monitor government finances. Senate President Eduardo Bhatia earlier this week suggested that the Legislature may have to carry out an entire new budget if Promesa was approved. Bhatia said the “government for the people, by the people, has been left in suspense.”
The legislative budget package of bills is currently in a conference committee where legislative chambers are working out their differences to create single versions of the bill. The House wants to increase debt payments while the Senate wants to earmark money to the retirement systems.
Hernández noted that once Promesa is enacted into law, the board will be appointed within 90 to 120 days. He also did not believe the board will ask for changes during a transition of one government to another because the members would have to first become familiarized with local government procedures.
“They will probably use the transition process to gather the necessary information,” he said.