By Greg Williams
Puerto Rico's Governor Ricardo Rosselló released a new fiscal plan that seeks to balance the island's budget by 2019. Last summer the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA) became law. PROMESA requires the island's government to submit a fiscal plan to an economic oversight board for approval. The Rosselló plan aims to reduce the government's operating deficit through budget cuts and increased revenue collection.
“The crisis in Puerto Rico is getting worse and the debt restructuring process must move forward more quickly,” commented Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development organization Jubilee USA. LeCompte testified before Puerto Rico's oversight board last November. "Puerto Rico's oversight board has pushed for a nearly 80% debt reduction. The island needs this debt relief as soon as possible.”
The PROMESA legislation also established the Congressional Task Force on Economic Growth in Puerto Rico to examine potential changes to US law to assist Puerto Rico. The task force, composed of eight Members of Congress, released recommendations in December. Congress has not yet acted on the recommendations that would provide medicare funding and at least 3 billion dollars in child tax benefits for the people of the beleaguered island.
"Congress still has a role to play in resolving this crisis," stated LeCompte, whose organization has met with more than 50 Members of Congress on the recommendations. "Congress must enact these bipartisan recommendations that give American citizens living in Puerto Rico the same benefits that Americans receive who live in the states."
Read the governor's fiscal plan
Read more about Congress' growth recommendations