Legislative resolution demands Puerto Rico jurisdiction be addressed in US tax reform
SAN JUAN – While the approved U.S. tax reform bills are reconciled in Congress, Puerto Rico’s Senate approved Monday its Resolution 531, authored by its president, Thomas Rivera Schatz, to express the chamber’s stance within “the context of the colonial situation of the island, our American citizenship and the call for equality for Puerto Ricans.”
“Taking into consideration the will of the people [referring to the 2012 and 2017 status plebiscites] the Senate understands that any possible modification to the Tax Reform, and any federal legislation that affects Puerto Rico must respect the fact that Puerto Rican residents are in the process of achieving equality with regard to obligations and rights as American citizens as a state of the Union,” the resolution reads, “and preventing any corporate, political, professional or other sector from obtaining special treatment or special economic benefits that undermine that will and the rights of the American citizens of Puerto Rico, much less under intimidatory, fallacious and exaggerated arguments.”
The measure emphasizes that “Puerto Rico must be recognized as a domestic jurisdiction in socioeconomic recovery…and considering that Puerto Rico is a territory, to authorize the context of that needed socioeconomic recovery as a result of the territorial fiscal crisis and the largest natural disaster in the history of the United States, as recognized by FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency], that part or all of the revenues of the federal Treasury from federal contributions in Puerto Rico must be returned to the island to promote economic development, maintain the budgetary stability of the local government and recover our access to financial markets.”
When defending the measure before arguments presented by the Popular Democratic Party minority, the Senate president commented that the commonwealth “is the American jurisdiction where we have the highest tax rate compared to the states.”
Regarding arguments presented about the phased-out section 936 of the U.S. tax code, Rivera Schatz said the “people who argue that these multinationals and those other economic interests defend Puerto Rico when they ask for disguised 936 [companies]; they neither represent me nor Puerto Rico,” and added, “Our responsibility is to make demands on behalf of our people not the companies that benefit along the way.”
On Monday as well, the Senate confirmed the appointment of Nisha Desai as a member of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority’s Governing Board and Federico Stubbe Jr. as a Promotion of Puerto Rico as a Destination Corp. board member.
Likewise, attorney Alberto Castañer Padró and engineer Memphis Cabán were confirmed to the Governing Board of the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority.