Puerto Rico House speaker, lawmakers ask fiscal board to reconsider fiscal plan
SAN JUAN – The speaker of Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives, Carlos “Johnny” Méndez Núñez, along with several lawmakers, expressed themselves Wednesday against the fiscal plan certified by the island’s Financial Oversight and Management Board and requested that the panel revise it.
“What the [fiscal board] proposes is an austerity plan that would further aggravate the economic and fiscal situation of Puerto Rico. The Board certified a Plan that aims to further cut government services to create a surplus of $17 billion for the year 2023 that can only benefit creditors. That Plan goes against the strategies of economic development that we have been implementing for almost 2 years and we see its positive results in the recent jobs and economic activity statistics,” Méndez Núñez said in a joint statement.
Rep. José “Pichy” Torres, denounced that the board “proposes further cuts to pensioners, to our public employees, including the elimination of their Christmas bonus, and they intend to render inoperative important agencies such as the Police, Fire, Justice, among others. All this to have available for other purposes about $17 billion that Puerto Rico needs for its recovery.”
House Vice President Lourdes Ramos added that “the governor and this legislature will continue to defend the most vulnerable [citizens] and we will fight in all forums to protect the pensions of our retirees and the funds we need for the agencies to provide services and pay our public employees. We have had the will to make major needed transformations such as the reforms in PREPA [Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority], in Health, in Education, Labor, Permits and reducing about $2billion in operational expenses of the Government to guarantee and pay our pensioners and those of the University of Puerto Rico. That promise is going to be fulfilled.”
Majority Leader Gabriel Rodríguez Aguiló said that “this Fiscal Plan…will have a disastrous effect on the jobs we can create, in education, in security and even in the most basic services such as trash collection for our residents. With these austerity policies, we will aggravate the difficult economic and fiscal situation we have had for more than a decade.”