Police union calls for $300 million injection to retirement fund from CFSE
By The Star Staff
After warning that the police retirement fund is in crisis, Puerto Rico Police Members Association President José J. Taboada de Jesús called for a $300 million infusion.
Taboada urged Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia and the leaders of the island’s legislative bodies to include in the special session that began Monday legislation that will allow the transfer of at least $300 million in surplus funds held by the State Insurance Fund Corp. (CFSE by its Spanish initials) to the Police Retirement Fund.
“The precarious situation of fellow retired police officers, and those who are about to retire, can be improved immediately, without having to sacrifice recurring funds or impose special tax obligations against the country’s taxpayers,” Taboada said in a statement.
The State Insurance Fund Corp. (known as Workmen’s Compensation Fund) has about $900 million in different savings accounts in Puerto Rico banks to pay for its operation.
“Careful analysis confirms that of those funds, at least $300 million is available for use other than the provision of services to those injured on the job or employers,” Taboada said. “This is money earned or saved in the operation of the CFSE. These funds have been misused in the past, so we request that at least $300 million be used to supply the Police Retirement Fund, understanding that this can give a boost to a stable ‘dignified retirement’ of at least five to six years.”
The injection of money, he said, must come out of the CFSE because it will not hinder the operation or liquidity of that public corporation, nor will it affect the salaries of its employees or managers.
The union leader said financial statements and actuarial reports from the CFSE confirm the existence of those funds.
“We have been in communication with colleagues from the CFSE who have confirmed to us the existence of millions of dollars available for other uses, other than for the operation of that public corporation,” Taboada said. “At times when there is practically a roadblock that surrounds the [speaker] of the House of Representatives, Rafael “Tatito” Hernández, the president of the Puerto Rico Senate, José Luis Dalmau and Governor Pedro Pierluisi himself, the healthiest thing to do is to seek an immediate solution to the problem of the funds for the worthy Retirement of the Police Officers.”
Taboada said he has confirmed that there is not a single legislator who would oppose the measure of social justice.
“Once again, we request an immediate response, other than the government’s management, so that the first $300 million available in the CFSE are transferred to the Police Retirement Fund,” he said. “We are not asking for anything impossible; the money is there waiting for the prompt action of our government leaders so that a message of tranquility and gratitude is sent to the comrades of the public security force who are so in need of a decent pension.”
For the past month, police officers have been holding various actions to demand a “dignified retirement.” A mass police demonstration was called for Dec. 14 in front of the Capitol to demand amendments to Act 81 of 2020 or through another bill.
Act 81 seeks to grant policemen who retire with 30 years or more of service, and who have reached 55 years of age, a life pension of up to 50% percent of their salary earned up to retirement.