Rosselló Replies to Sen. Hatch’s Letter to Governor
SAN JUAN – New Progressive Party gubernatorial hopeful Ricardo Rosselló applauded Sen. Orrin Hatch’s efforts to have Puerto Rico present its financial statements before establishing a policy regarding the island’s fiscal crisis.
Hatch had sent a letter to Gov. Alejandro García Padilla asking for specific information on Puerto Rico’s situation. The governor said in a press conference Wednesday that he doesn’t “accept ultimatums from anyone, including Hatch,” but that La Fortaleza is working on a reply.
In a nine-page letter to the Republican senator, Rosselló said the imposition of a fiscal board would minimize Puerto Rico’s legitimacy in meeting its obligations, as it would “federalize the crisis and rob the People of Puerto Rico of a legitimate opportunity to assume responsibility and resolve the crisis on their own terms.”
He also wrote that the focus on debt restructuring diverts attention from the urgency of reducing public spending and restoring economic growth.
The candidate said the constitutional provision requiring payment to creditors first amid a fiscal crisis should not be amended locally or federally since it would erode the the island’s credibility.
Rosselló Nevares proposed the creation of joint commission by introducing local and federal laws to address the debt and to work in conjunction with the Internal Revenue Service. He also proposed downsizing government by consolidating and restructuring its agencies.
The NPP leader suggested that the U.S. Treasury Department provide direct support and that the Electronic Exchange Information (EEI) requirement for shipments between the mainland United States and Puerto Rico be eliminated because it “perpetuates the mischaracterization of Puerto Rico as a foreign country, imposes an unnecessary cost and administrative burden on interstate commerce, increases the cost of living on the island, and hinders economic development,” the letter reads.
Rosselló believes Puerto Rico should be treated like such corporations as General Motors and Chrysler and be provided “interim financing” to pay its “near-term” obligations to “avoid the expense of complicated litigation.”
“Finally, there is no doubt that achieving parity in Federal programs such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Medicaid funding, among others, would help ease the strain on the Commonwealth government of maintaining certain programs and stimulating the economy,” Rosselló concluded.