Governor of Puerto Rico reiterates call to Congressional leadership to fulfill their promise of economic development for the Island
(December 19, 2017 - La Fortaleza, San Juan) Governor of Puerto Rico Ricardo Rosselló sent a letter to the majority and minority leaders of the United States Senate and House of Representatives to request the inclusion of amendments related to the tax code that guarantee equal treatment to the American citizens residing in Puerto Rico.
The governor reiterated that Congress itself enacted the PROMESA Act to ensure economic development and fiscal stability, but the unequal treatment towards Puerto Rico in the federal tax reform hinders its purpose.
The U.S. House of Representatives announced yesterday the allocation of $81 billion for the supplementary aid package that will allow Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Texas, Florida, California, and Louisiana to recover from natural disasters.
Although not very common, the legislation for disaster recovery included amendments to integrate the zones of opportunity for Puerto Rico, so there is an opportunity to consider other amendments of a contributory nature.
“We understand there may be efforts by Congressional leaders, who are dedicated to helping Puerto Rico rebuild, to include provisions in the emergency supplemental bill that will advance, not impair, Puerto Rico’s ability to recover economically. I strongly urge that Congress not miss the opportunity to include the base erosion tax amendments we have offered,” stated the governor.
Rosselló added that “domestic treatment for Puerto Rico from the base erosion provisions would not be inconsistent with the tax reform bill’s objectives. It would be altogether consistent to treat Puerto Rico domestically since manufacturers operate in US soil where federal environmental and labor regulations apply.”
Although the governor acknowledged that the supplementary aid package is an advance, he warned that the measure does not meet the needs of Puerto Rico in Medicaid, nor does it have enough funds to address the recovery.
Additionally, the measure has other aspects of public policy in its language that hinders its support.
The letter was addressed to Mitch McConnell, majority leader of the Senate; Paul Ryan, speaker of the House of Representatives; as well as to the Democratic leaders Charles Schumer, of the Senate; and Nancy Pelosi, of the House of Representatives.
Last Saturday, Rosselló sent a letter to all members of Congress to reiterate the urgency for the Island to be treated fairly and equitably in supplementary aid for disasters.
In the letter sent on Saturday, the governor stressed that “no governor should ever be put in the position of having to deny [...] hope in the aftermath of a catastrophic disaster due to the inaction of Congress."
The governor recognizes that the request for help for disaster recovery is significant and demands accountability.
"While we have demonstrated an outstanding level of resilience, patience and will, we need help from Congress to fully recover. The ultimate fate of our Island and community rests largely in your hands," said governor Rosselló in the letter sent over the weekend.