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Puerto Rico gov’t submits budget to fiscal board

By on April 1, 2019

Puerto Rico CFO Raúl Maldonado (CB file)

Panel rewards compliance, allows access to restricted funds in current budget

SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico’s chief financial officer, Raúl Maldonado, announced Monday in a tweeted video that the government has submitted its budget for the next fiscal year to the island’s Financial Oversight and Management Board.

While he did not reveal its total, Maldonado said the budget will allocate more funding to healthcare and public safety.

“We have made sacrifices at other agencies to be able to fulfill this government platform’s commitments,” he said, adding that the budget complies with the fiscal plan.

The fiscal oversight board later informed Maldonado that the government will be able to use 5% of the restricted funds in the current budget because it met revenue projections during the first six months of fiscal year 2019.

To be able to access the restricted funds, government agencies were required to operate with only 95% of their total budget during the first three quarters of the fiscal year and meet income projections established in the fiscal plan.

“The history of overestimated income projections in the past is part of the practices that led Puerto Rico to the current fiscal crisis,” the board said in a statement.

The fiscal panel reviewed the income information for the first six months of the fiscal year and concurred with the government in that it is in compliance with the projections established in the certified fiscal plan. As a result, the funds were released Monday.

“A balanced budget is key to the recovery of Puerto Rico,”  the board’s executive director, Natalie Jaresko, said. “Allowing the government and its agencies access to these funds is a positive indicator because it means that they complied with the terms of the Fiscal Plan to the letter and remained within the income projections.”

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