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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Legislators vow to evaluate 67 bills that address tax reform

Speaker of the House of Representatives Rafael “Tatito” Hernández Montañez and House Finance and Budget Committee Chairman Jesús Santa Rodríguez

By The Star Staff

Speaker of the House of Representatives Rafael “Tatito” Hernández Montañez and House Finance and Budget Committee Chairman Jesús Santa Rodríguez announced on Sunday, after the Financial Oversight and Management Board approved the commonwealth government’s latest fiscal plan last week, that they will approve the evaluation of the 67 legislative measures, from all delegations, including those proposed by Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia, aimed at reforming the island’s tax system.

As part of the analysis, the legislators sent a request for information to Economic Development and Commerce (DDEC by its Spanish acronym) Secretary Manuel Cidre Miranda, in which they asked him to certify the cost-benefit of investment, if any, that the incentives granted under Law 60-2019 (Incentive Code) have demonstrated during the past three years.

“In this phase, we are focused on reviewing the decrees, incentives, subsidies, reimbursements and tax or financial benefits granted by the Government of Puerto Rico,” reads the letter signed by Hernández Montañez and Santa Rodríguez, who granted three working days for the head of the DDEC to provide the requested data.

“To truly pass legislation that eases the tax burden on Puerto Ricans, we need tax data that is admissible through PROMESA [the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act],” the legislators said in a written statement. “Given this reality, we call on the Treasury secretary, Francisco Parés Alicea, to certify the fiscal impact of the 67 measures filed to effectively amend our Internal Revenue Code.”

For his part, Santa Rodríguez said that “genuinely, there is an environment in the House to legislate a broad and holistic reform of our entire tax system, including contributions on income, real estate, taxes and the Sales and Use Tax (IVU).”

“In addition, we will continue to evaluate in the legislative process Senate Bill 802, which seeks the creation of a legal framework to publish tax expenditure reports, to accurately evaluate the cost and return on investment of tax incentives and credits,” Santa Rodríguez noted.

Hernández Montañez and Santa Rodríguez announced that starting April 19, they will begin a series of meetings, with all sectors, in search of points of agreement and viable alternatives. Likewise, they made a call for unity in which they stated that “the commitment has to be broad and for this reason, we will include in the process the trust professionals recommended by both the Governor, and the Municipal Revenue Collections Center (CRIM), as well as the FOMB [Financial Oversight and Management Board].”

The legislators also indicated that they will take advantage of the process of reforming the tax system to standardize and simplify all current documentation, reports and payrolls.

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