Memo from a Working Group of the CNE Growth Commission to the Congressional Task Force on Economic Growth in Puerto Rico

Devising economic development opportunities should be one of the most pressing goals for both U.S. and local policy makers. In the following memo, a Working Group of the CNE Growth Commission charts a preliminary vision for addressing the deeper, structural constraints to economic advancement and for spurring economic growth.

Click the following button to download the report:

CNE-DownloadPublication-Button

Or read the document below:

Memo to Bipartisan Congressional Task Force on Economic Growth in Puerto Rico

Restoring sanity to the economy of Puerto Rico will require a long-term term approach. CNE is recommending to the U.S. Congress the creation of a permanent working group at the federal level focused on structural and long-term issues related to economic growth in Puerto Rico.

Click the following button to download the report:

CNE-DownloadPublication-Button

Or read the document below:

Policy Paper: Devising a Growth Strategy for Puerto Rico

The following policy paper has been co-authored by José Antonio Ocampo – Co-Director of the Initiative for Policy Dialogue in Columbia University, former Executive Director of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and former Minister of Finance of Colombia – Deepak Lamba-Nieves, CNE’s Research Director and Sergio Marxuach, CNE’s Public Policy Director.

Click the following button to download the report:

CNE-DownloadPublication-Button

Or read below:

CNE and Columbia University start to define the characteristics of a new Industrial Policy for Puerto Rico

headerEng

Click the button to download the full report “Devising a Growth Strategy for Puerto Rico”

CNE-DownloadPublication-Button

The “CNE Growth Commission” will work on a new growth strategy for the island

June 15 2016 – The Center for a New Economy (CNE) unveiled today in San Juan a joint report prepared with the Initiative for Policy Dialogue (IPD) at Columbia University in New York which analyzes key components for a new Industrial Policy for Puerto Rico. Among the key processes are: correct coordination and market failures; identify and support new productive activities; design and implement structural economic reforms; revamp public institutions in charge of economic development; and foster a dynamic dialogue and consultation processes with different stakeholders. The term “industrial policy” refers to a broad set of public policies that seek to support key economic sectors and coordinate productive activity. READ MORE

Enlace al análisis del HR 5278 y resumen ejecutivo

PARA DESCARGAR EL ANÁLISIS DEL CNE EN SU TOTALIDAD OPRIMA EL SIGUIENTE BOTÓN: 
CNE-DownloadPublication-Button

RESUMEN EJECUTIVO:

Principio 1: Cualquier junta federal tiene que respetar las instituciones y procesos políticos de Puerto Rico.

El proyecto NO cumple con el principio 1. El HR 5278 le confiere a la Junta de Control Fiscal poderes que exceden los necesarios para ejecutar una función de monitoreo y supervisión fiscal. La Junta será una entidad del gobierno de Puerto Rico pagada con fondos públicos de Puerto Rico, pero no estará sujeta al control o la supervisión de funcionarios locales; podrá forzar la ejecución de recomendaciones que hayan sido rechazadas por el Gobernador o la Legislatura de P.R.; podrá prohibir la ejecución de ciertas leyes, reglamentos, órdenes o contratos; podrá requerir la ejecución de medidas de privatización y comercialización de actividades gubernamentales; y de manejo de los fondos de pensiones de los empleados públicos.

Principio 2: La decisión final sobre materias impositivas y de gasto público debe residir con los oficiales democráticamente electos de P.R. que deben actuar de manera transparente y rendir cuentas.

El proyecto NO cumple con el principio 2. Bajo el HR 5278, la Junta prácticamente toma control de las instituciones fiscales de Puerto Rico: queda facultada para desarrollar  el presupuesto del gobierno e imponer reducciones de gastos aún en detrimento de la prestación de algunos servicios públicos.

Principio 3: Los procesos para reestructurar la deuda deben tratar a las partes de forma justa y equitativa. Deben proveer un camino claro y viable para que se produzca un alivio significativo en el pago de la deuda. 

El proyecto NO cumple con el principio 3. El HR 5278 representa progreso sobre el proyecto anterior (HR 4900). Sin embargo, los procesos de reestructuración todavía son demasiado complicados y no proveen un camino viable que desemboque en alivio a la deuda. HR 5278 crea un proceso complejo de clasificación de acreedores; contempla un periodo muy corto de aplazamiento para los litigios; y crea una segunda capa de requisitos al nivel de la Junta de Control para que se pueda acceder a un proceso de reestructuración supervisado por la corte.

Principio 4: Ninguna clase de deuda debe ser excluida del proceso de reestructuración.

El proyecto SÍ cumple con el principio 4. HR 5278 incluye los Bonos de Obligación General (GO’s) y COFINA en la reestructuración, pero respeta la jerarquía de sus reclamos.

Principio 5: Se debe crear un Task Force congresional sobre crecimiento económico de Puerto Rico.

El proyecto cumple PARCIALMENTE con el principio 5. HR 5278 crea un Task Force de Crecimiento Económico. Sin embargo, no le asigna fondos y el Task Force tiene una vida muy corta. Asimismo, excluye entidades no-gubernamentales y de la sociedad civil del proceso de consulta.

Principio 6: Si el Congreso no puede actuar, debería autorizar expresamente que Puerto Rico legisle su propio marco para reestructurar la deuda. 

Este principio NO APLICA en el proyecto. Puerto Rico se encuentra en un limbo legal en cuanto a cómo reestructurar su deuda.

Statement by Miguel Soto-Class on HR 5278

Statement by Miguel A. Soto-Class, President of the Center for a New Economy (CNE), on CNE’s analysis of HR 5278 “To establish an Oversight Board to assist the Government of Puerto Rico, including instrumentalities, in managing its public finances, and for other purposes/PROMESA”.


“During the past several months, CNE has invested a significant amount of time in sharing our knowledge on the complexities of the fiscal and economic situation of Puerto Rico with those members and staff of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate who have been working on the island’s fiscal crisis in Washington DC. We have stressed the urgency of addressing Puerto Rico’s fiscal situation and we have proposed well-thought and balanced alternatives to address the immediate problem of the debt overhang, transform Puerto Rico’s fiscal institutions, and spearhead a process to reactivate economic growth.”

“Although we recognize the enormous amount of work that has been put into achieving a bill that could muster bipartisan support, we must say today that, after carefully analyzing HR 5278, we cannot endorse the bill as it stands.”

“First of all, this project imposes on Puerto Rico a very high cost in exchange for very uncertain benefits. It forces Puerto Rico to barter away its inherent power to make decisions about its own affairs in exchange for the opportunity of accessing a process which – after sorting more than 45 requirements, steps, and levels – may only allow us the possibility of having a court authorize us (or not) to restructure part of our debt.”

“Second, while it is true that Puerto Rico needs strong fiscal controls, those controls need to be imposed by the island’s government institutions. We gain nothing from the imposition of an excessively powerful foreign control board that will balance the checkbook but that, once its mandate is finished, will leave intact the same weak and decayed fiscal and governmental institutions that have brought us into the present quagmire. Puerto Rico needs durable and long-term transformations.”

“Not endorsing this bill was a very difficult decision. But CNE must be true to its mandate and to the values that sustain us. Those who argue that our elected officials have been incapable of achieving the transformations that Puerto Rico needs are right. But the answer to this problem is not a control board designed by other politicians from outside Puerto Rico.  This will only atrophy even more our inadequate economic and fiscal institutions. What Puerto Rico needs is a new civic infrastructure, with new institutions, and with individuals and organizations that can achieve the transformations we need for the future.”

CLICK BELOW TO DOWNLOAD CNE’S ANALYSIS IN ITS ENTIRETY: 
CNE-DownloadPublication-Button

Non-Negotiable Principles: Congressional Action Regarding Puerto Rico

Click here for Spanish version / Oprima aquí para versión en español

The Center for a New Economy (“CNE”) has analyzed Puerto Rico’s economic and fiscal situation for more than a decade. During that period, we have carefully surveyed and considered the socioeconomic context and the rapidly deteriorating financial position of the island, and attempted to address some of the most pressing problems. Through the publication of a series of research papers and policy briefs, we have proposed thoughtful and actionable recommendations to multiple stakeholders, both within and beyond Puerto Rico. More recently, given the severity of the current situation and recognizing the complicated political scenario, we have engaged in advocacy and outreach efforts in Washington, D.C. to educate members of Congress and their staff, and the executive branch, about the need for comprehensive federal action on this issue.

As the situation in Puerto Rico and Washington D.C. reaches a critical point, we are asserting the following non-negotiable principles as CNE’s benchmarks for evaluating any new proposals regarding federal oversight of Puerto Rico’s finances and the process for restructuring and addressing its unsustainable public debt burden.

  1. Any federal oversight has to respect Puerto Rican political institutions and processes. Anything less would be both demeaning to Puerto Ricans and unworthy of the United States. Turning back the clock to the colonial policies of the Foraker Act of 1900 is simply unacceptable.
  2. The ultimate responsibility and decision-making authority regarding taxation and public expenditures must rest with Puerto Rico’s democratically elected officials, who should be transparent and held publicly accountable to their constituents. This is a fundamental principle of democratic governance that should not be sacrificed for political expediency or to appease fringe or special interest groups in the United States.
  3. Any proposal to restructure Puerto Rico’s debt must treat both creditors and debtors fairly and equitably and provide, ex ante, a clear and feasible path for actually delivering meaningful debt relief. In specific, no additional requirements/certifications/votes by an Oversight Board should be required to proceed to a court supervised debt restructuring process after a good faith attempt to reach a negotiated solution has failed.
  4. No classes of Puerto Rico debt should be excluded from the restructuring process. Setting up a two-track process, one for certain creditors, such as GO debt and COFINA bonds, and another for every other class of claims, would be extremely complicated to administer in the best case and probably unworkable in the worst. When it comes to restructuring, clarity is always better than uncertainty.
  5. New economic growth opportunities will not materialize by themselves even after the implementation of a comprehensive debt restructuring. Therefore, a (U.S. House/Senate) economic growth task force for Puerto Rico should collaborate with knowledgeable stakeholder groups in Puerto Rico to develop a long-term economic growth strategy. The design of such a collaborative comprehensive strategy should include short-term measures to spark new investment activity, and medium-term proposals that help rebuild economic institutions, strengthen public governance, and identify strategic bets in particular sectors of the Puerto Rican economy.
  6. Finally, if Congress is unwilling or unable to act, then it should expressly allow Puerto Rico to legislate its own legal framework to restructure its debt. Delaying a necessary restructuring of Puerto Rico’s debt will only lead to the destruction of bondholder value and lower recovery levels. Furthermore, going ahead with an untested and potentially disorderly legal process, with numerous creditor lawsuits and years of scorched-earth litigation, would further depress the local economy, increase restructuring costs, and make long-term recovery harder to achieve.

CNE-DownloadPublication-Button


 

Principios no negociables en torno a la acción del Congreso sobre Puerto Rico

El Centro para una Nueva Economía (“CNE”) ha analizado la situación económica y fiscal de Puerto Rico durante más de una década. Durante este periodo, hemos examinado el contexto socioeconómico y alertado sobre la rapidez con que se ha deteriorado la situación fiscal de la isla. A través de la publicación de informes de investigación y política pública, hemos abordado algunos de los problemas más apremiantes de la isla y propuesto recomendaciones ponderadas y sensatas tanto dentro como fuera de Puerto Rico. Recientemente, dada la severidad de la situación actual y reconociendo el complicado escenario político, hemos desarrollado esfuerzos en Washington D.C. para educar a miembros y funcionarios del Congreso y el Ejecutivo de EEUU, sobre la necesidad de que el gobierno federal tome acción abarcadora sobre este asunto.

En momentos en que la situación en Puerto Rico y Washington D.C. llega a un punto crítico, afirmamos los siguientes principios no negociables del CNE para evaluar cualquier propuesta relacionada a la supervisión de las finanzas de Puerto Rico por parte del gobierno federal y el proceso para reestructurar y atender la insostenible deuda pública.

  1. Cualquier ejercicio federal de supervisión tiene que respetar las instituciones y los procesos políticos de Puerto Rico. Cualquier otra cosa sería degradante para los puertorriqueños e inapropiado para los Estados Unidos. Darle marcha atrás al reloj y volver a las políticas coloniales del Acta Foraker de 1900 es simplemente inaceptable.
  2. La responsabilidad y autoridad final sobre las decisiones relacionadas a asuntos impositivos y el gasto público debe residir en los oficiales democráticamente electos de Puerto Rico, quienes deben ser transparentes y rendir cuentas públicamente a sus constituyentes. Este es un principio fundamental de gobernanza democrática que no debe ser sacrificado por conveniencia política o para aplacar grupos de interés o sectores específicos en el entramado político de los EEUU.
  3. Cualquier propuesta para reestructurar la deuda de Puerto Rico debe tratar tanto a los acreedores como a los deudores de una manera equitativa y justa, y debe proveer ex ante un camino claro y viable para proveer un alivio significativo de la deuda. En particular, no se deben imponer requisitos/certificaciones/votos adicionales por parte de la Junta de Supervisión para que pueda procederse a un proceso de reestructuración supervisado por una corte. Debe bastar con que se haya hecho un esfuerzo de buena fe para llegar a una solución negociada y este esfuerzo haya fallado.
  4. Ninguna clase de deuda de Puerto Rico debe ser excluida del proceso de reestructuración. Establecer un proceso en dos canales, uno para la deuda de Obligaciones Generales (GO en inglés) y los bonos de COFINA y otro para todas las demás clases de reclamaciones sería extremadamente complicado de administrar. En el peor de los casos, este proceso probablemente sería imposible de ejecutar. En términos de la reestructuración de la deuda, la claridad siempre es mejor que la incertidumbre.
  5. Una reestructuración abarcadora de la deuda por sí misma no traerá nuevas oportunidades de crecimiento económico. Por lo tanto, un task force congresional para el desarrollo económico de Puerto Rico debe colaborar con sectores interesados y grupos informados en Puerto Rico para desarrollar una estrategia abarcadora de crecimiento económico a largo plazo. El diseño de esta estrategia colaborativa debe incluir medidas de corto plazo que provoquen nueva actividad de inversión, así como propuestas de mediano plazo que ayuden a reconstruir las instituciones económicas, fortalecer la gobernanza pública, e identificar apuestas estratégicas en sectores particulares de la economía de Puerto Rico.
  6. Finalmente, si el Congreso no está dispuesto o no puede actuar, entonces debe permitir que Puerto Rico legisle su propio marco legal para reestructurar la deuda. Seguir posponiendo una reestructuración necesaria de la deuda solo provocará la destrucción del valor de la inversión de los bonistas y niveles más bajos de recobro. Más aún, continuar con un proceso legal desordenado y plagado de incertidumbre, con numerosos litigios de acreedores, deprimirá aún más la economía local, aumentará los costos de la reestructuración y hará más difícil de alcanzar la recuperación económica en el largo plazo.

CNE-DownloadPublication-Button

Policy Brief: Possible Consequences of a Default on Puerto Rico General Obligation Bonds

In this policy brief CNE (1) provides a succinct summary of the current situation in Puerto Rico and (2) describes some of the possible consequences of a Puerto Rico default on its General Obligation bonds (“GO”) and other government guaranteed debt.

CNE-DownloadPublication-Button

Why Congress Should Act Now

Staff Briefing by Sergio M. Marxuach for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources on April 28, 2016.

Introduction

  • On behalf of the Center for a New Economy I want to thank the staff of the Committee on Natural Resources for the invitation to share with you some of the things we have learned over the last decade or so with respect to Puerto Rico’s complicated capital structure.
  • We recognize the Committee has devoted a considerable amount of time, effort, and resources to this issue and understand progress has been made in developing a comprehensive legislative solution to Puerto Rico’s debt crisis.
  • In spite of this progress, we believe that work remains to produce a bill that addresses the concerns of all stakeholders—both in Puerto Rico and in the mainland—in a balanced, equitable, and fair manner.
  • We look forward to continue working with you as the Committee adjusts the legislative text currently under consideration.

READ MORE

The Endgame: An Analysis of Puerto Rico’s Debt Structure and the Arguments in Favor of Enacting a Comprehensive Debt Restructuring Mechanism for Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico’s debt structure is inordinately complicated. With no access to a broad debt restructuring mechanism, the chaos that a disorderly default could bring would further erode bondholder value, increase restructuring costs, depress the local economy, and make long-term recovery harder to achieve.

What follows is the executive summary of the policy paper “The Endgame: An Analysis of Puerto Rico’s Debt Structure and Arguments in Favor of Enacting a Comprehensive Debt Restructuring Mechanism for Puerto Rico” updated on April 2016.

A link to the updated paper in its entirety can be found at the end of this post.

READ MORE

CNE Newsletter

Never miss an update!
Subscribe to the CNE Newsletter below: