For Immediate Release
Friday, October 14, 2016
AFSCME President Lee Saunders on Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro García-Padilla’s Fiscal PlanWASHINGTON, D.C. —
AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders issued the following statement on the fiscal plan released by Puerto Rico Gov. García-Padilla:
“The people of Puerto Rico are facing immense challenges as they enter into a second decade of economic decline. Yet, much like the experience in the rest of the U.S., the financial hardships in Puerto Rico are not experienced equally. Wealthy investors, from the island- and mainland-based financial services industry, are not only shielded from the hardships, but have actually benefited from them. Sophisticated financiers knew exactly what they were doing as they sought to exploit Puerto Rico’s struggles to maintain services for its residents.
“Although we do not agree with every aspect of Gov. Alejandro García-Padilla’s plan, when it comes to debt service, we think he gets the broad strokes exactly right. The captains of Wall Street, and especially the monoline insurance companies, sought to profit handsomely at the expense of Puerto Rico families. They justified their profit-taking on the basis of bearing risk. As the investors knew when they demanded extraordinary returns on their investment, Puerto Rico does not have the financial capacity to pay the excessive profits without creating horrific deprivation for its residents.
“Governor García’s plan for creditors is the proper starting point for achieving fiscal balance. Much more work, however, remains to be done to bring about the economic growth necessary to sustain the working families of Puerto Rico. Maintaining labor standards, avoiding further reductions in critical services and offering Medicaid financing, the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Childcare Tax Credit to Puerto Ricans on the same basis as states must be a top priority.”