Sparking a New Conversation about Puerto Rico in Washington D.C.
On March 2, 2016, the Center for a New Economy (CNE) broke new ground by hosting the conference “Is a Federal Fiscal Control Board the Only Option for Puerto Rico?” in Washington D.C. The forum sought to generate a balanced discussion on options for achieving fiscal balance for Puerto Rico beyond the current binary debate over the imposition of a federal control board.
The conference explored the concept of a Fiscal Responsibility Law (FRL) for Puerto Rico as a policy proposal that could lay the groundwork for the stabilization of Puerto Rico’s public finances and prompt a broad overhaul of Puerto Rico’s fiscal infrastructure. FRLs are mechanisms that allow for the establishment of monitorable fiscal targets and policy reforms. The panel discussed the benefits of enacting and implementing a FRL as the basis for a strong fiscal regime for Puerto Rico, and how it might fit within the broad framework of any federal policy that addresses the island’s current fiscal and economic crisis.
Miguel A. Soto-Class, President of CNE, introduced the discussion stressing that solutions to the Puerto Rico crisis need to have legitimacy within the island and seek to rebuild its fiscal institutions for the long-term.
Andrés Velasco, Former Finance Minister of Chile and Professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, discussed how Fiscal Responsibility Rules are being successfully applied throughout the world; while Tracy Gordon, Senior Fellow, Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, explored how they are applied in the United States and the type of oversight mechanisms with which they interplay.
Sergio Marxuach, Policy Director of CNE, discussed how a Fiscal Responsibility Law for Puerto Rico could be designed in order to deal with the current juncture and manage fiscal policy in the long-term; while Gordon Gray, Director of Fiscal Policy at the American Action Forum, cautioned about the challenges such a law would face in the context of Puerto Rico’s current politically charged atmosphere.
Puerto Rico’s elected officials, Congressman Pedro Pierluisi, Resident Commissioner for Puerto Rico, and Senator Eduardo Bhatia, President of the Puerto Rico Senate, closed the event, cautioning against externally imposed solutions to the Puerto Rico crisis.
If you want to be part of the conversation regarding Puerto Rico’s future, join us, and watch CNE’s DC panel on the link below.