Rosselló, González Ask Administration to Step Aside
SAN JUAN – New Progressive Party candidates Ricardo Rosselló Nevares and Jenniffer González Colón, who are running for governor and resident commissioner, respectively, demanded that the government administration present a budget, and said that “if they don’t have the capacity to deal with the crisis, they should step aside and allow us to govern.”
“At this critical moment, the political leadership of Puerto Rico has opted for a strategy that will only cause more harm to our people. Instead of being proactive and showing the world the ability we have in Puerto Rico to solve our problems, they have decided to sit back and place all their bets on a Washington lifeline that every day looks more uncertain and whose proposed remedy may end up being worse than the disease,” Rosselló said Sunday.
“To date, the government of Puerto Rico has not presented a budget, and remarks [by its leadership] suggest it will not be providing one until whatever happens with the federal capital’s bill is determined,” González added.
In her view, “these acts verge on gross dereliction of duty. What will happen if the Washington bill isn’t passed? Will we head straight toward default, litigation and the collapse of our government?”
The candidates indicated that the aim of the current administration “to lead Puerto Rico toward bankruptcy, shows how little they care about the damage this may cause present and future generations.” Moreover, they claimed that if a new budget is not approved, the current budget, which “operates with a large deficit, as admitted by the current administration, would remain.”
For Rosselló, “every crisis brings an opportunity to take measures to avoid returning to the point where we are now. While Washington discusses which kind of fiscal control board will be imposed on Puerto Rico, it is time to show we have the ability to solve our problems locally.”
González added that “the key is to restore the credibility of the government before both the Congress and creditors, as well as the [island] in general. We must be transparent, put the cards on the table, so everyone knows where we are at, and from there can set out on the path toward recovery.”
Both said that in order to restore credibility and plot a course out of the crisis, the government must, “without further delay,” implement the following actions:
Present Puerto Rico’s audited financial statements; work to present to Congress a budget that, through government and fiscal reform, includes a spending reduction within the first year.
In addition, “immediately convene all creditors and holders of government debt, to negotiate in good faith, without bankruptcy, a renegotiation of the debt to be able to comply with the debt service,” they said.
In their view, there are 18 types of bond issuances, all with different conditions to be dealt with individually. “The Rosselló Plan addresses this problem in the short term and the Joint Commission offers debt management alternatives for the medium and long terms,” they assured.
González added that “regardless of what happens in the federal Congress, in Puerto Rico the current administration must present a balanced budget, including a reduction in spending, while exemplifying in each line item what federal fund parity would represent, as if we were a state.”
On tax reform, the politician said, “It should seek to produce real savings, eliminating everything that isn’t strictly necessary to fulfill the services the government should be providing.”
“To achieve this goal, it is necessary to implement, now, zero-based budgeting at all agencies and public corporations. People might say this is a lot of work in just 67 days, but with the will to bring about immediate changes, this can be achieved,” Rosselló said.
González said one cannot ask “to negotiate in good faith on the one hand, while on the other mechanisms for non-payment and moratoriums are sought.”