National Catholic Reporter Talks with Eric LeCompte on Puerto Rico Fiscal Plan

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA was recently featured in the National Catholic Reporter speaking on Puerto Rico's fiscal future. Read excerpt below and follow link to full article.

Puerto Rico needs bold, visionary effort, especially in energy

By: Michael Sean Waters

Beyond the challenges inflicted by the hurricane, the fiscal crisis has only worsened. "Early last year, Puerto Rico's oversight board and governor authorized a fiscal plan with high debt payment cuts and austerity measures," Eric LeCompte, executive director of JubileeUSA told NCR. JubileeUSA has been very active monitoring the debt crisis negotiations. "When the hurricanes hit, the oversight board eliminated the previous plan to make room for a new plan that took into account the storm devastation. As we were working on a new fiscal plan early this year, there were some serious improvements, including a complete stop on debt payments." For a variety of reasons, Puerto Rico’s public debt soared in the past 10 years as economic activity on the island never rebounded from the 2008 recession and the phasing out of special tax breaks for manufacturing on the island in 2006. 

"Unfortunately, the governor's most recent plan looks largely similar to the plan before the hurricanes and doesn't stop debt payments or take into account the magnitude of hurricane damage," says LeCompte. "In the next few weeks, the oversight board will likely certify a new fiscal plan and we need to be sure that a new plan stops all debt payments for at least five years, supports a high total principle cut of the debt, lessens austerity and has specific measures to only pay debt in the future if we see sustained economic growth and child poverty reduction." 

LeCompte is also worried that Congress may not authorize the reconstruction money the island needs. "Puerto Rico can't succeed if Congress does not authorize the remaining recovery funds the island needs," he told me. "We continue to work with congressional leadership to get the remaining installments of relief aid over the coming months." 

Read more here.