Puerto Rico Legislature seeks to approve budget on Friday
Has until June 30 if conference committee formed
SAN JUAN — Puerto Rico Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz said Wednesday that the island’s House and Senate intend to pass the budget by the end of this week.
“I spoke with [House Speaker Carlos Méndez] yesterday and he tells me he is trying to approve it on Friday. Trying, because there are so many meetings, if this gets stuck…it can happen. But we have to do it definitely before June 25,” Rivera Schatz told reporters.
He mentioned that a conference committee can also be created to have until June 30 to approve it, and that the budget presented by the governor will have some items amended.
“We want to find a way to help teachers, the police officers; ensure that certain agencies that have had resource problems to provide their service, that they have them. That is the exercise my team and the House speaker’s are doing to see how we can reconcile all that without threatening the limits or the maximum there should be,” he said.
In addition, he mentioned the possibility of even reducing the amount proposed by the governor.
“If we could lower it, better, as we did last year. The budget we recommended was lower than the one proposed by the [Financial Oversight and Management] Board,” the Senate’s leader said.
Rivera Schatz pointed out that although the document presented by the governor will be approved, during the legislative process, the Senate uses the budget submitted by the fiscal board to compare.
The board submitted a $9.1 billion budget, some $524 million lower than the $9.62 billion presented by the governor.