Rosselló administration submits first budget proposal
After a tumultuous couple of weeks which included attacks by the Trump administration in the media, Governor Rosselló has finally submitted a budget proposal for the upcoming year. Though originally more aggressive in previous proposals, this budget plan attempts to avoid the deep and wide cuts that have upset many in Puerto Rico and are now thought to have devastating results and vitriolic blow back.
Though the plan is set redeem less than a third of the total debt per year, Rosselló is still fighting to wrangle billions out of an overgrown and bloated government. The expenditures that Rosselló has said are outrageous and wasteful in the government he is still fighting to shut down, downsize, and eliminate to encourage better growth in the free market. His ultimate goal is to stabilize the economy and that with this budget he can not only satisfy the wants and needs the of the Financial Oversight & Management Board and the bond holders but also that of the people that live in Puerto Rico and may be at risk, particularly against austerity measures.
The proposal ultimately contains a plan for increased revenue and fairly significant government restructuring with little focus on debt and repayment. Rosselló believes that a solid foundation to any government is stability and he plans to begin to restructure the Puerto Rican bureaucratic agencies for a streamlined working process as well as crackdown on rampant tax evasion around the island. Estimates from this proposal slate that by fiscal year 2019 , $1.2 billion of the debt could be repaid which would still be over the federal suggestion by the Oversight Board.
Following the declaration of Title III debt restructuring, the future for Puerto Rico after several unsuccessful negotiations with bondholders and several lawsuits is uncertain. While working the Title III proceedings Rosselló managed to secure additional health care funds for the islands but that might not stop the incoming storm that looms over the fiscal and societal strife of Puerto Rico. Since Puerto Rico is not a state it cannot legally declare bankruptcy, but the Title III filing provides a way for the government to have a legal standing regarding the debt proceedings.
As of May 20, 2017 it is looking like the final budget will be prepared by Tuesday, May 23, 2017. Rosselló told reporters that he was working loosely with the Oversight Board to maintain a proposal that would be satisfactory across the board and with an end that would be the best for Puerto Rico and all those affected by the budget. This came after an extension of the draft proposed on April 30 and will be final proposal. Following its submission, the Rosselló administration would be notified of acceptance or errors and violations. If it doesn’t find favor the fiscal board will reject it and likely implement their own budget.