Legislators Urge Support for Puerto Rico

The following letter was sent to members of Delaware's Congressional Delegation on April 18.

We write to encourage you to urge your colleagues and President Obama to provide Puerto Rico with the tools to create a pathway to economic recovery. In June 2015, Puerto Rico’s Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla declared the Commonwealth’s $72 billion debt “not payable” and the government effectively ran out of cash to continue operating.

Puerto Rico has taken extraordinary measures to address the situation, including shuttering more than 100 public schools, delaying tax refunds, increasing the retirement age, borrowing from the worker’s compensation fund, withholding holiday bonuses, and increasing the local sales tax to a national high of 11.5 percent. This economic crisis has forced a second “Great Migration,” much like after World War II, with more than 250,000 Puerto Ricans leaving the island since 2010.

The federal government must take strong action to stabilize Puerto Rico by adopting bankruptcy and debt restructuring protections for the Commonwealth. In order to create sustainable growth, the federal government must grant Puerto Rico the right to declare Chapter 9 bankruptcy, eliminate the annual Medicaid/Mi Salud funding cap, and institute tax policies that foster economically diverse living-wage job creation. Action is needed now to extend equal treatment to Puerto Rico, its 3.5 million American citizens who reside on the island and 5 million who live in the United States and abroad.

Through this letter, we join the state of New Jersey and city councils in Philadelphia, Chicago, New York, Cleveland, Orlando, and Wilmington to stand in unity with the national call for a pathway to recovery for Puerto Rico, facilitated by the federal government.

Thank you for your consideration,

Stephanie T. Bolden
State Representative, 2nd District

Helene Keeley
State Representative, 3rd District

John L. Mitchell, Jr.
State Representative, 13th District

Peter C. Schwartzkopf
State Representative, 14th District

Valerie Longhurst
State Representative, 15th District

James Johnson
State Representative, 16th District

Joseph E. Miro
State Representative, 22nd District

John A. Kowalko, Jr.
State Representative, 25th District

John J. Viola
State Representative, 26th District

Margaret Rose Henry
State Senator, 2nd District

Robert I. Marshall
State Senator, 3rd District

Ernesto B. Lopez
State Senator, 6th District

Patricia M. Blevins
State Senator, 7th District

Bryan Townsend
State Senator, 11th District

CC: Councilwoman Maria Cabrera