Sunday, July 21, 2019

Puerto Rico Senate president says Pay as You Go must be included in budget

By on June 27, 2019

Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz (CB file)

Hopes spending plan is passed Friday

SAN JUAN — Puerto Rico Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz said Thursday that the payment of pensions under the Pay as You Go system “must be in the budget” and not in separate resolutions as passed by the House of Representatives.

“The Pay as You Go has to be in the budget, and for us that is cardinal. There is no reason to separate it. If everything is in the budget, they have to sign it or veto it. Separated, one thing can be vetoed and the other allowed, and there is no reason to separate it,” the president argued when leaving a public Appointments Committee hearing.

“For me, to separate the funds from the municipalities, there is no way I will do it. It is either you put the funds in or there is no budget. What is the need to separate it?” said Rivera Schatz, who expected an agreement would be reached at an afternoon meeting in the governor’s office, La Fortaleza. “If we aren’t in agreement, we’ll see what happens,” he added.

Earlier this week, the Senate amended the budget bill, which is being reconciled in a legislative conference committee, to incorporate $286 million for contributions to the municipalities, the payment of the health plan and the Pay as You Go.

The Senate leader said he would like the budget passed, “if possible,” in the session Friday. The current fiscal year ends Sunday, so a new budget would come into effect Monday.