Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Puerto Rico gov: Fiscal board objections to tax reform are partly over public policy

By on November 5, 2018

SAN JUAN – Gov. Ricardo Rosselló insisted Sunday that the objections of the island’s fiscal oversight board to the measures in the bill that amends the island’s Internal Revenue Code have already been addressed.

“The tax rates for individuals and corporations was where there were more changes over the previous version they had seen and certified in a fiscal plan. I clearly see in the measures of the tax reform, and the commitment we have had to the people of Puerto Rico, they not only comply, but we also collect more [revenue] than what is required,” the governor said at a press conference.

“There are two other points, and one is about the additional public policy that they require. I reiterate to you that who establishes public policy is the Government of Puerto Rico, not the board. So we appreciate their recommendations, but the reform will [take place] as we have established it,” he added.

The other issue the governor said concerned the board has to do with language on the legalization of slot machines and the impact on already submitted taxes on casinos.

“I believe they have to demonstrate that notion, and our team with that of the House and the Senate’s have to demonstrate the opposite. We have been conservative with this so there is no excuse, that it not be a public policy whim or something else to implement this,” he said.

The governor said he has no problem meeting with the board to reach the agreements needed to approve the bill.

On Friday, the executive director of the fiscal board, Natalie Jaresko, sent letters to the governor, House Speaker Carlos “Johnny” Méndez and Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz, raising concerns over the bill passed in the legislature. In her opinion, the measures would raise taxes and complicate the Internal Revenue Code of Puerto Rico.

Méndez requested an urgent meeting to address the differences.

Read Jaresko’s letter here: FOMB – Letter – Governor and Legislative Leaders re Tax Changes Post-Senate – 20181102

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