Sunday, July 21, 2019

Puerto Rico House approves $20 million in donations, craft beer tax measure

By on July 9, 2019

(CyberNews)

Special session also ends with passage of procurement bill 

SAN JUAN — Puerto Rico Rep. Antonio “Tony” Soto announced Tuesday that during the completion of the special legislative session a measure that assigns $20 million to nonprofit entities was passed, along with Senate Bill 280 to foster the development of the craft beer industry.

“As we had announced last week, we approved Resolution 514 of my authorship, in which we address the important sector of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that provide services throughout Puerto Rico,” the also chairman of the Treasury Committee said in a statement.

Soto also spoke about the specific amounts granted to some of the entities. He explained that the measure includes $2 million to SER de Puerto Rico, which serves children with disabilities and autism; as well as $700,000 to the Children’s Hospital. Likewise, $330,000 was allocated to the Fondita de Jesús, which serves the homeless; $425,000 to the Moca Child Disability Assistance and Therapy Center; and 584 other nonprofit organizations would also receive funds.

He said meetings were held with multiple organizations such as the Movimiento Una Sola Voz (One Voice Movement) to explain the legislative process and the disbursement of the approved resources.

The representative of Guaynabo, Cataño and Bayamón added that he included a stipulation in the measure that orders the Treasury Department to transfer the funds to the Joint Commission he presides by Sept. 30.

“With this provision, we accelerate the disbursement process to the NGOs and guarantee the services they offer,” he said.

The House also passed Senate Bill 280 to promote the production of craft beer. The Conference Report contends that all U.S. states have passed legislation to allow home brewing, mostly following the same federal parameters. It points out that Puerto Rico has lagged behind in this legislative matter, despite the growing number of Puerto Ricans interested in exploring the opportunity to make craft beer. The report says a special scale must be added for low volume production, with competitive rates similar to those stateside.

House Bill 2112, to create the new General Services Administration Act for the Centralization of Purchases of the Government of Puerto Rico was also reconsidered. Its objective is to reduce bureaucracy by eliminating hundreds of procurement regulations.

When reconsidering the bill, it was withdrawn and the House appointed a new Conference Committee to address the differences between both legislative bodies. The Senate also appointed a new Conference Committee. Finally, the measure was passed with a second Conference Report. 

The House finalized the Third Extraordinary Session, sine die.