Hispanic Leadership Fund President Mario H. López and nine other signatories from free market organizations sent a letter to key members of Congress, calling for a hearing on the lack of progress made by the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA) Oversight Board in the 18 months of their commission.
“HLF is proud to lead a coalition of free market organizations to call for stronger congressional oversight into the ongoing financial crisis in Puerto Rico,” said López.
“With much of the island still suffering from the recent hurricanes, the need for constructive reforms that would help the people of Puerto Rico is now stronger than ever,” he said.
Puerto Rico has struggled with a debt of more than $70 billion, which was amplified in July of 2016 when the territory defaulted on its debt. The PROMESA law was created to set Puerto Rico on the right path toward economic recovery but there has been very little forward movement towards substantive reforms since then, the group said.
“PROMESA was created to chart a path forward, to restructure Puerto Rico’s debt and provide for an agreement between creditors and the island, but that goal fades every day as the Oversight Board becomes less and less transparent in its actions,” the letter acknowledged.
The letter expressed concern with Oversight Board Executive Director Natalie Jaresko’s past leadership of the regional taxpayer-funded investment fund called Western NIS Enterprise Fund (WNISEF), during which she collected $1.77 million in bonuses, despite being limited to a compensation of $150,000.
The letter points out that of the $60 million, taxpayer-funded budget for the Oversight Board, Jaresko, receives a salary of $625,000 — more than 31 times more than the average family makes in Puerto Rico.
“Congress created the Oversight Board to make the tough decisions that politicians often are reluctant to make and put Puerto Rico on a path toward economic growth,” said López.
“The Oversight Board has failed in its basic goal and has ignored the basic precepts set forth in PROMESA of accuracy, transparency, respect for lawful priorities or liens, and a credible plan to get Puerto Rico on a path toward fiscal stability,” López said.
Joining HLF on this issue are the leaders of various free market organizations including the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, Frontiers of Freedom, Americans for Limited Government, the Center for Freedom and Prosperity, Independent Women’s Voice, the Market Institute, Consumer Action for a Strong Economy, 60 Plus Association, and Independent Women’s Forum.
The text of the coalition letter can be accessed here.