Puerto Rico rep exhorts US Congress to treat island as domestic jurisdiction
SAN JUAN – The chairman of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives’ Federal, International and Status Affairs Committee, José Aponte Hernández, urged members of the U.S. Congress to classify the island as a domestic jurisdiction for tax purposes.
The lawmaker said any decision regarding designations of and federal taxation on the island must be accompanied by a plan for its quick transition to a U.S. state.
“Our island is not a foreign territory, it is a jurisdiction of the United States and thus Congress must to treat us as such in all respects. As an equal, not as another independent nation. That is why we understand that the best thing for our people in the short and long term is the inclusion of Puerto Rico as a domestic jurisdiction in the federal tax reform’s language, but with a transition period that provides room for that type of corporation to be integrated into the tax system as it applies in all states,” the legislator said in a press release Monday.
The representative’s remarks come days before the U.S. Senate votes on changes to the U.S. tax code that include measures to encourage the creation of stateside jobs by eliminating benefits to foreign companies.
“This designation would give us great capability when we are granted admission. Because along with the tax reform benefits for the states, there would be a multimillion-dollar injection of federal funds corresponding to hundreds of federal programs. It would also give companies the security provided by the political certainty provided only by a federated state, which would encourage more national and international companies to relocate to the island, creating thousands of new and better jobs for Puerto Ricans,” the legislator added.
For Aponte Hernández, the inclusion of the island as a domestic jurisdiction would be another step toward statehood.
“The political opposition in Puerto Rico has wanted to frame this debate as merely tax-related; however, that is not reality. They are supporting that Puerto Rico be left as a foreign jurisdiction because that has always been its political reality. The legislative actions in the U.S. Senate, which is expected to vote this week on the so-called tax reform of the Republican Party, must go hand in hand with an action related to the expression of the people of Puerto Rico on [the island’s] admission as a state of the Union. This inclusion must include a transition period toward statehood,” he said.