Thursday, January 20

Pedro Pierluisi insists the Fiscal Control Board for funds to lobby for statehood for Puerto Rico in Washington

Pedro Pierluisi insists the Fiscal Control Board for funds to lobby for statehood for Puerto Rico in Washington

Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi in a file photo.

Angel Valentin / Getty Images

For Jose A. Delgado

WASHIGNTON DC – La Fiscal Oversight Board (JSF) reaffirmed that it does not have the authority to approve the allocation of $ 6.55 million that would finance the election of state lobbyists without this request for funds having been made to the Legislature.

The president of the Board, David Skeel, issued the new warning to the government of Pedro Pierluisi, which through the director of the Office of Management and Budget (OGP) had requested a reconsideration of the decision taken earlier this week.

“Your letter states that the Board has the authority to approve the governor’s request for rearrangements of funds without the Legislature reviewing that request. In this instance, the Board respectfully disagrees with you, ”Skeel said in the response, which is dated March 11.

Through Law 167 of December 30, 2020, then-Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced and the Legislature of Puerto Rico, which was controlled by the New Progressive Party (PNP), called for an election of six state lobbyists for the 16 of May. The law did not allocate funds to the State Elections Commission (CEE).

They seek to follow up on the referendum of November 3 and

Given the fact that the EEC does not have the funds to finance the consultation, Governor Pedro Pierluisi, through the OGP, has asked the Board to authorize the reordering of $ 6.55 million of the current budget to finance the election, which seeks to follow up on the referendum on November 3 in which statehood obtained 52.5% of the votes.

The president of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives, Rafael “Tatito” Hernández, who has considered challenging the constitutionality of the law, had warned the Board that the request for funds had not been referred to the Legislature.

On two occasions, the Board has denied the reordering of funds due to the fact that the governor has not submitted this request to the Legislature.

Skeel indicated that section 204 © (1) of the Promise Act requires that a rearrangement of funds be requested first from the Legislature.

“If the Governor sends a petition to the Legislature requesting the rescheduling of any of the amounts of a certified budget, the governor will submit said request to the Oversight Board, which will be in charge of analyzing whether the proposed rescheduling is significantly inconsistent with the budget. , and will present its analysis to the Legislature as soon as possible after receiving the request ”, indicates that section of the Promise law.

The president of the Board also said that the Pierluisi government has implied that it can carry out this rearrangement of funds without the approval of the Legislature or the fiscal entity.

In that sense, he asked the director of OGP, Juan Carlos Blanco Urrutia, to demonstrate to the Board the authority he has to do that.

In the letter, Skeel also refuted that the claim that the request for funds go first to the Legislature interferes with the right of the people of Puerto Rico to determine their future political status.

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