- Essential services, including schools, to continue operating
- Government has $150 million in reserves to fund operations
The Puerto Rican government could run out of cash as soon as Nov. 15, forcing it to order a partial shutdown or reduce working hours for public employees, the island’s budget director told a local newspaper.
Luis Cruz Batista, executive director of the Office of Management and Budget, said the government is monitoring cash flow and has $150 million in reserves to fund essential services, including schools, police and health care, even if other agencies are reduced or temporarily shuttered.
While the government has repeatedly said it may face a cash flow shortage, Cruz’s comments were the first time the administration of Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla put a date on a possible partial shutdown.
“We’ve avoided a government shutdown and we continue working day-by-day monitoring the cash flow; it’s a daily exercise,” Cruz told El Nuevo Dia in a report published Saturday. “In the worst of the scenarios, there would be an adjustment in some agencies where they’d have to reduce the workday.”
Cruz said shuttering agencies is a last resort.
Garcia Padilla’s administration is trying to restructure $73 billion in debt by asking creditors to accept a reduction in principal and by delaying principal payments. The Government Development Bank, which oversees the island’s borrowing, is facing a $354 million payment on Dec. 1. A government spokesman on Oct. 29 said the bank is expected to make the payment.