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Vargas Vidot says fiscal board demands should be challenged

By on March 10, 2017

SAN JUAN – Amid thorny communication between Gov. Ricardo Rosselló and the financial oversight board, which rejected his administration’s fiscal plan and is demanding further cuts, independent Sen. José Vargas Vidot recommended challenging the requirements of the entity established by federal law.

After opposing the board-proposed cuts, especially for the University of Puerto Rico and the healthcare system, the senator said such policies reflect the board’s “malice” with respect to Puerto Rico’s stability.

“The board is an insult to the dignity of the people. The least we can expect from any government facing such a situation is we react by demanding dignity and especially challenging those board requirements, which specifically rip into the financial and economic environment of our society,” Vargas Vidot said at a press conference in which he presented a bill to eradicate discrimination against ex-convicts.

In the face of the board’s stance on austerity, the legislator said it is “very important that the people rise up, be visible and demonstrate in an organized way so we don’t allow a board to further complicate [the island’s fiscal situation].”

Sen. José Vargas Vidot (Juan J. Rodríguez/CB)

Sen. José Vargas Vidot (Juan J. Rodríguez/CB)

On Thursday, Vargas Vidot joined as co-author of Senate Resolution 156, which was presented by Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) Sen. Juan Dalmau to investigate potential Puerto Rico-bond holdings by members of the fiscal board.

“The first thing to question is whether they have the capacity and moral quality to distinguish themselves from any other objective board. What is being proposed is: Is it that behind all these cuts there is an uncontested defense of the interests of its members? It’s what we want to find out,” he said of the legislative probe.

After it transpired that the board could oppose the fiscal plan presented by the government, Rosselló insisted Friday in another letter that his plan “implements mechanisms to achieve the fiscal objectives and ensure that both essential services and retirement systems are adequately funded.”

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