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New Puerto Rico Fiscal Plan Approved Today; Rossello Says It Is Too Austere

SAN JUAN — A federal control board has approved a five-year fiscal plan for Puerto Rico, though Gov. Ricardo Rossello warns it’s too austere and will affect government services.

The economic blueprint approved today aims to help pull the U.S. commonwealth out of an economic crisis following a 12-year slump and devastation caused by last year’s Hurricane Maria.

The plan estimates that $82 billion in federal hurricane recovery funds will briefly boost Puerto Rico’s economy.

But President Donald Trump tweeted that what he called the “ridiculously high amount of funds” can’t be used to pay the island’s debt. He said “inept politicians” on the island are trying to do that.

Board executive director Natalie Jaresko said the funds aren’t budgeted for debt payments but will help stimulate the island’s economy.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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