Government challenge to Judge Swain’s budget decision expected
Governor Rosselló is seeking to challenge Judge Swain’s decision which dictated that the Financial Oversight and Management Board did have the power to determine a budget for Puerto Rico. The case essentially settled the matter on which budget will be used for the upcoming fiscal year.. The effects of this decision means that the budget will decrease funds for government departments and government-owned corporations.
Puerto Rico Senate President, Thomas Rivera Schatz (NPP), and House President, Carlos Méndez (NPP), are now also seeking to appeal Swain’s verdict over their own case, which sought to stop the implementation of the board’s budget. They had sued the board, releasing their statement through Facebook, for the same reasons that Governor Rosselló’s administration did. They argued that the Oversight Board was overreaching their duties and shouldn’t influence policy making. In their case, Swain determined that the budget proposals presented by the Executive and Legislative branches did not need to be resolved by the court. As a result, the board-certified budget remained in effect and was further confirmed to be the implemented budget in the governor’s case.
“It has become very clear what is the unworthy colonial situation in Puerto Rico, where some courts have decided that in some aspects of the budget the hands are tied to the Legislative Assembly and somewhat to the executive to make determinations, so of course we are going to appeal,” Rosselló said to local newspaper, El Vocero. The Senate president issued his own statement on the matter, saying, “We respect Judge Swain’s determination, but we have the right to request a review of that determination.” Thus, both parties agree that the colonial status of Puerto Rico has limited their ability to govern in many ways. The struggle between the government and the board over which budget should be implemented showcases these limitations.