Fiscal board: Deadline for revised UPR FY2021 budget is today
By The Star Staff
With the island Senate and House of Representatives not agreeing on a single version of the commonwealth budget, the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico told the government in a letter Monday it wants a revised version of the University of Puerto Rico’s (UPR) proposed fiscal year (FY) 2021 budget by today.
Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz said the upper chamber will not concur with the House version of the budget. The current budget will continue in effect in the new fiscal year, which starts Wednesday (July 1).
“It looks like we are not going to concur with the House budget,” Rivera Schatz said. “Therefore, the current budget will continue in effect.”
Last week, the House passed the governor’s version of the budget while the Senate approved the version designed by the Financial Oversight and Management Board.
Meanwhile, the oversight board threatened to submit its own budget for UPR unless it receives from the government a revised, compliant budget by today, the letter from the oversight board said.
The letter said the proposed UPR budget for FY 2021, submitted to the oversight board on June 26, is not compliant with the fiscal plan for UPR as certified by the board on June 12.
If the governor fails to submit a revised, compliant budget to the oversight board, the board then will submit its own compliant budget to the governor today, and that budget shall be deemed to be approved by the governor, deemed to be subject to a compliance certification issued by the oversight board to the governor, and in full force and effect beginning Wednesday, the first day of the new fiscal year.
A summary of major items that are non-compliant with the 2020 UPR certified fiscal plan, and require corrective action were:
1. Payroll: Payroll is significantly higher than the 2020 certified fiscal plan allows for FY 2021.
2. Benefit reductions: The proposed budget does not lower monthly employer contribution on medical benefits. Similarly, UPR did not eliminate the amount for the Christmas bonus budget line item. Also, calculating the cost of employee benefits based on the information included in the contract review submission would yield a number inconsistent with the proposal in this budget submission.
3. Tuition exemptions: Tuition net of scholarship expenditures is lower than required under the 2020 UPR certified fiscal plan.
4. Capital projects program: The proposed budget by UPR includes only $6 million in internal capital projects (capex); it significantly underfunds critical capex needs for the UPR system.
5. Pension reform: The proposed budget does not tie the employer contribution to a pension reform.
6. Debt: The proposed budget does not include funds to pay debt service.