Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla on Monday ruled out any layoffs of public employees on the Caribbean island if the U.S. Congress does not reach an agreement to avoid the automatic spending cuts due to take effect later this week.
Garcia Padilla's clarification follows remarks by Puerto Rico's non-voting representative to Congress in Washington, Pedro Pierluisi of the main opposition PNP party, in which he said that the governor was contemplating firing workers in the face of the possible cuts.
"No jobs are in danger in Puerto Rico," said Garcia Padilla, who on Saturday participated in the meeting of the U.S. National Governors Association.
Pierluisi said that the spending cuts, known as the sequester could mean a loss of up to $26 million in funds for Puerto Rico's Department of Education.
The White House on Monday published a report listing the anticipated economic consequences if Congress does not manage to reach an accord to avoid the March 1 sequester.
The report warns, in the case of Puerto Rico, among other things, of the possible loss of 70 teaching jobs and reductions in funding for job-training, AIDS care and efforts to stop gender violence. EFE