Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro García-Padilla announced Thursday he has turned over several documents detailing the island’s fiscal situation to the fiscal oversight board, a day ahead of the federally appointed body’s first meeting today.
The information is meant to provide the board a “broad framework” and open the discussion about the status of the government’s current obligations and finances, to stress the importance of an orderly restructuring of the outstanding $68 billion public debt, he said in a televised speech.
Among the documents handed to the board’s seven members are:
- The Krueger Report produced last year by a team of experts led by Anne Krueger, economist of the International Monetary Fund (2001-2006);
- The Puerto Rico Plan for Economic Growth and Fiscal Stability published in September 2015 and updated in January 2016;
- A study about the “terrible consequences classic austerity measures” (such as those imposed on Greece by the European Union) would have on the well-being on island residents;
- A report on practical aspects of the implementation of the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act; and,
- A timeline proposal, which includes producing a first draft of the Fiscal Adjustment Plan in two weeks, followed by a revised plan in November that incorporates the board’s comments and recommendations, and a Final Plan before year’s end.
“It fell upon me as governor the historic task of rolling up our sleeves and increasing our fiscal discipline, so the board’s intervention will be as short as possible,” he said. “The process that starts tomorrow will require generosity and unity of purpose from all sectors, so Puerto Rico can speed up its economic recovery.”
The board’s first meeting will be held in New York, during which the body will elect its chairman, establish its internal procedures and perhaps name its executive director.
As announced several weeks ago, García-Padilla announced he has delegated upon former New York Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch, to communicate the Commonwealth’s priorities to the board of protecting public employee pensions, jobs, guaranteeing the stability of the University of Puerto Rico, and getting parity from the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
“We’re also warning the board about the dangers to your health, your education and your safety if the federal court agrees to a creditors’ petition to cancel the temporary protection against money-collecting actions,” García-Padilla said.
“That is why we also asked the board to consider the possibility of intervening in this trial, to guarantee this essential element of the law approved for Puerto Rico is upheld. In other words, we explained to the board that if the Federal Court agrees to this unfair claim from our creditors, our situation will take a turn for the worse,” he said, referring to several lawsuit pending at the U.S. District Court of Puerto Rico filed by several creditors in recent weeks.