Delgado Altieri proposes economic plan as part of his campaign

By The Star Staff

Popular Democratic Party gubernatorial hopeful Charlie Delgado Altieri presented on Tuesday his proposal to boost the Puerto Rico economy, which includes the creation of an Economic and Social Development Council that will have the participation of private companies, economists, and the labor and environmental sectors.

Delgado Altieri said the council will be in charge of implementing the Puerto Rico Economic and Social Development Plan for the years 2021-2030.

“To fight poverty, we need to create jobs that guarantee the livelihood and well being of our citizens,” Delgado Altieri said when presenting his proposal. “The plan for Economic and Social Development of this second transformation is to create an environment that fosters equal opportunities for everyone in Puerto Rico.”

The plan will have pillars such as Project 3i (Innovation-Research-Intelligence) to promote education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) from primary grades to the university level (K-20), he said.

“We are going to attract and retain world-class scientists and researchers through economic and tax incentives,” Delgado Altieri said. “We will establish a scientific-business ecosystem that allows the initiatives developed to be manufactured and marketed locally. In addition, we will create the Center for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CIAR), together with the universities and private companies, which will allow us to insert ourselves into the economic and social growth related to the fourth industrial revolution.”

To validate the potential of artificial intelligence development, the Delgado Altieri noted that according to a report by the prominent international firm PwC, artificial intelligence, robotics and other forms of intelligent automation have the potential to contribute up to $15 trillion to global gross domestic product by 2030.

“This will generate employment, but it will also displace jobs that exist today,” he said. “Therefore, together with the academy, we will invest in education and the development of human capital with the necessary skills for this work scenario.”

In addition to jobs in the aforementioned areas, Delgado Altieri stated that he is proposing to develop civil aeronautics to turn the western region of Puerto Rico into the main cargo hub in the Caribbean. This will be accompanied by a concentrated fight for the permanent elimination of air cabotage laws.

“The state of Alaska did it and we are going to do it for Puerto Rico. We are going to develop an air and sea transshipment port, and a shipyard at the former Roosevelt Roads naval base,” he said. “This initiative will be complemented by a school to develop naval mechanics. We will develop tourism in the eastern area, including Vieques and Culebra, promoting the arrival of small and midsize cruises.”

Likewise, Delgado Altieri said he will push the United States Congress to restore tax incentives that promote the return of the pharmaceutical industry to the island.

“We will incorporate into this initiative marine biotechnology that is being developed by Inter-American University in Barranquitas and that seeks to produce food, medicinal, industrial and pharmaceutical products,” he said. “We will encourage the development of local companies that provide products and services to support pharmaceutical companies. In this way, local capital companies are linked and a business ecosystem is created that benefits SMEs [small and midsize enterprises].”

Delgado Altieri said further that he will push for Congress to allow the Puerto Rico government to make tax agreements with other countries.

Regarding his proposal to support small and midsize businesses, he said he will seek to recapitalize the Economic Development Bank (BDE by its Spanish initials) so that it can offer financing to SMEs at a reasonable cost.

“We will restructure the BDE and we will appoint a board of directors made up of people with experience to keep the institution away from political changes,” Delgado Altieri said. “Also, we are going to capitalize on COSSEC [the Public Corporation for the Supervision & Insurance of Cooperatives in Puerto Rico] and provide all the technical support to cooperatives so that they, together with local banks, are protagonists in financing economic and social development.”

Delgado Altieri said he will establish an integrated tax system that is fair, equitable, efficient and simple, and that reduces the costs of doing business.

“We will simplify the compliance process for entrepreneurs by filing a single form that serves to meet the requirements of the income tax, the municipal [business tax], the personal property tax and the annual report of corporations, if applicable,” he said.

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