February 10,2016

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Aaron Fobes, Julia Lawless (202)224-4515

Hatch Pushes for Current Financial Statements from Puerto Rico

In Letter to Governor, Utah Senator Highlights Fiscal Challenges Involving Territory’s Public Pension Plans, Growing Debt, and Questionable Budgeting
WASHINGTON – As Congress continues to examine fiscally responsible solutions to address the growing economic and financial challenges plaguing Puerto Rico, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) today called on Governor Alejandro Javier García Padilla to provide current and verifiable information regarding the current fiscal health of the territory.
“Unfortunately, it has been challenging to acquire recent verifiable financial information about Puerto Rico’s financial condition.  In addition, given what appears to be a large stock of severely underfunded public pension promises in Puerto Rico, I wish to clarify the nature of the pension systems,” wrote Hatch in a letter today. “Consequently, I am writing to obtain information that will prove useful to Congress and other stakeholders as we continue to work to find measures to assist the people of Puerto Rico as the government of Puerto Rico continues to face financial and transparency challenges.”
To date, Puerto Rico’s debts and unfunded public pension liabilities total $117 billion or more.
Last year, Hatch along with Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) introduced S.2381, the Puerto Rico Assistance Act of 2015, legislation that paired tax and other fiscal relief with a path to credible budgeting and transparency for Puerto Rico’s government financing.
The measure, was based on the limited financial data Congress had access to.  Since then, Hatch has pressed for additional, up-to-date audited financial statements regarding the fiscal and financial state of Puerto Rico. Still unable to secure such information, Hatch directly called on Puerto Rico’s Governor today.
A signed copy of the letter is available here.