Puerto Rico gov calls request to publish ‘draft’ budget given to fiscal board ‘unreasonable’
SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said Tuesday that the to request to make the first version of the budget the government presented to the Financial Oversight & Management Board on April 30 is unreasonable because it was a “draft” and would affect the way the executive branch works.
The governor is backing an appeal to the order issued by Judge Lauracelis Roques Arroyo, of the U.S. District Court of San Juan, who requested the governor’s legal representation to present a sealed copy of the first version of the budget sent to the fiscal board.
The ruling took place after Popular Democratic Party (PDP) Senate Minority Leader Eduardo Bhatia presented a legal recourse to demand the document’s release.
“Did Eduardo Bhatia send a draft of his budget to any of you [journalists]?” Rosselló asked during a press release. “What’s next, draft bills? Text messages? This is an action that Bhatia himself…an initiative to try to remain relevant in the public discussion, but the truth is it doesn’t have any weight, nor is it reasonable.”
The governor added that he will take steps necessary “to protect our right to work effectively.”
Last week, Public Affairs Secretary Ramón Rosario said that the government would appeal the judge’s decision because the document “has never been public because it isn’t a budget, it is a draft.”
“There was a draft that was worked on with the board, which were different initiatives, and the budget was what the governor filed,” Rosario maintained, outlining the administration’s public policy.
However, Bhatia requested the document as soon as it was presented to the board and took the case to court because he believes it contains information about the government’s position regarding the central governments cuts to municipal subsidies, the University of Puerto Rico and other budget items before the board’s intervention.