Legislator calls for transparency, strategy change in new Puerto Rico fiscal plan
SAN JUAN – Popular Democratic Party opposition Rep. Jesús Manuel Ortiz on Monday urged the administration of Gov. Ricardo Rosselló to let Puerto Rico know the details of the fiscal plan it will submit to the island’s fiscal control board this week.
Ortiz also demanded, via a video streamed on social media, that the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (Prepa), include in its plan, the return of about $85 million billed in excess to customers.
“Prepa has been charging an excessive rate for 16 months and has not implemented a reimbursement plan for the $85 million owed to customers, which was ordered by the Energy Commission nearly 10 months ago. Its fiscal situation cannot be an excuse to overcharge people. This is the time to return that money to consumers and implement the rate reduction it should have since January last year,” the legislator said in a written statement.
The representative added that the government has, as part of the process of preparing the new fiscal plan, to reveal this week what actions it proposes implementing on the island to the fiscal board. The fiscal plan certified last year, which was affected by Hurricane María, cost the island more than $800 million in cuts and over $900 million in new taxes, he said.
“The critical economic situation we were experiencing worsened with the passage of Hurricane María. That reality, if not faced with determination and an interest in fostering economic growth as the main goal, could once again result in violent austerity measures against the people that will cause more unemployment and outmigration. Taking that path would be another big mistake.
“Puerto Rico needs to put an urgent recovery program in place aimed at positioning ourselves successfully in the coming years and with metrics to measure progress. The government has to be open and speak clearly to the country. Reveal the actions proposed in the new fiscal plan this week. Not doing so would be to repeat the obscure process of last year,” Ortiz González added.