A fiscal advisory committee is set to release its recommendations today on how Puerto Rico can address an estimated $3.2 billion deficit in its $9.48 billion fiscal 2009 budget. The report comes after Gov. Luis Fortuño Sunday named Juan Carlos Puig as treasury secretary.
Banco Popular chief executive officer Richard Carrion heads the 14-member committee and this afternoon will present to the Fortuño administration suggestions to help close the budget gap and right Puerto Rico's finances, according to Teruca Rullan, a spokeswoman for Carrion.
Meanwhile, Fortuño announced more than 20 cabinet and top administration selections on Sunday after being sworn into office as Puerto Rico's ninth governor on Jan. 2.
Since 1998, Puig has been working for the Internal Revenue Service, last serving as taxpayer advocate in southern Florida. Prior to his tenure at the IRS, he served as auxiliary undersecretary of internal revenues within Puerto Rico's Treasury Department. Puig holds a bachelor's degree with a concentration in economics from the University of Turabo in Puerto Rico.
In addition, Fortuño appointed Miguel Cordero López as executive director of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority and Erin Kiess Rivera as executive director of the Puerto Rico Infrastructure Financing Authority.
"I feel extremely satisfied with the commitment that these leaders have demonstrated for Puerto Rico," Fortuño said in a press release. "Each of them has stood out for a work of excellence in his respective areas and it fills me with pride that they are ready to accompany me in this day, in which together we will direct Puerto Rico towards a better future."
Cordero López previously headed PREPA in 1993 under former Gov. Pedro Rossello. He received a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Puerto Rico and last served as deputy mayor of San Juan.
PREPA is the island's sole electricity supplier and anticipates investing roughly $2.1 billion over the next five years, including $1.5 billion from bonds, to upgrade the system and add capacity. The authority has roughly $5.7 billion of outstanding debt.
Kiess Rivera holds a bachelor's degree with a concentration in electrical engineering and a master's degree in engineering administration from the University of Puerto Rico. He previously worked as director of control and guarantee of quality at CSA Groups, a project delivery firm, beginning in 2006. Prior to CSA, Kiess Rivera worked at St. Jude Medical in Puerto Rico as manager of improvement, and at GE Consumer & Industrial and Johnson & Johnson.
Through PRIFA, the commonwealth has $2.1 billion of debt secured by rum tax revenue. The authority issues bonds for government agencies and municipalities throughout the island to help support infrastructure projects.