Governor says Legislature will back his request to keep Equalization Fund for towns at $88 million
By The Star Staff
Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia said Monday that he will continue with the plan to maintain the Equalization Fund for the island’s municipalities at $88 million and eliminate the payments that they have to make for the Government Health Plan (Mi Salud), despite what the commonwealth’s Fiscal Plan says.
The Financial Oversight and Management Board recently certified a fiscal plan that calls for the cutting of funding to municipalities, most of which are financially ailing.
The governor and the Legislature say his version of the budget includes those items rejected by the federal entity created under the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act, commonly known as PROMESA.
“I am sure that the Legislative Assembly will echo this request. In other words, in this, we are all united,” Pierluisi said at a press conference. “The only one who is out of tune is the Board. And I am going with us, because we have the funds to insist that justice be done to the municipalities in these two areas.”
The chairman of the Municipal Revenues Collection Center (CRIM) board of directors, Jesús Edgardo Colón Berlingeri, said meanwhile that they have already begun to meet with legislative leaders to establish a united front to fight the oversight board.
“The governor has been emphatic that he identified the money and the Legislature is also on the same page,” he said.
On Friday, the oversight board approved the CRIM Fiscal Plan, supposedly without the approval of Pierluisi’s government. Mayors and representatives of the Popular Democratic Party argued that the CRIM Fiscal Plan will cause the closure on July 1 of around 30 municipalities.