Continuing his act of defiance against the federally appointed oversight board, Puerto Rico’s governor put forward his fiscal plan Thursday that did not include the board’s provisions.
In his fiscal plan, Gov. Ricardo Rossello increased the island’s projected five-year cash surplus to $7.36 billion while dodging the board’s labor reforms that included layoffs and 10% pension cuts. According to Reuters, Rossello said he can meet the board’s spending cut expectations without its suggestions.
The fiscal plan is needed to resolve the island’s severe economic debt. In tandem with necessary infrastructure repairs brought on by September’s Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico is facing a combined $120 billion bond and pension debt. It is currently the largest federal bankruptcy case in US history.
Rosello and the board have been at odds for months in their negotiations over the US territory’s finances. The governor has vowed to fight the cuts and labor reforms as well as raise the minimum wage in addition to his other plans for Puerto Rico. On Easter Sunday, Rosello sent the board a seven-page letter explaining why his fiscal plan would not contain the proposed concepts.
“The government will not allow the takeover of these powers, and therefore cannot be compelled to implement many of the suggested revisions,” he said in the letter.