Manufacturers support changes to municipal business taxes
By The Star Staff
The Manufacturers Association on Tuesday supported a bill that would establish a process for paying business taxes to cities, known in Spanish as “patentes municipales.”
The Association made its remarks during a public hearing of the Senate Legal and Economic Development Committee, chaired by the Senate President José Luis Dalmau Santiago.
The measure, which was introduced at the request of the Association, seeks to establish a new regulatory scheme for the administration of the payment of municipal licenses in Puerto Rico; to create the Municipal Business Taxes Fund; to establish public policy regarding the future of the sales and use tax; and for other related purposes.
“The bill’s purpose is to simplify the payment of municipal license fees, and it is a bill aligned with the Board’s fiscal plan. In essence, it seeks to simplify processes for the benefit of the business sector. These simplified steps would represent an economy in the procedures,” highlighted the senator and author of the measure, Joanne Rodríguez Veve.
According to the Association’s Treasurer, Kenneth Rivera, the permit problem is its slowness. “If I get 19 in two days and the number 20 takes six months, it takes a while for the person to open their business. I want people to start operating their stores as soon as possible.”
The senator said language will be placed in the bill to make sure the money from the business taxes is transferred to the cities and is not kepo in the proposed Municipal Business Taxes Fund.
Meanwhile, the Mayors Association rejected the bill
In a written statement to the committee, the mayors requested that remarks from the Municipal Revenue Collection Center (CRIM) and several municipalities be considered.
In addition, the mayors indicated that they are concerned about the fiscal impact that the municipalities would have if the bill is approved.
“We understand that the bill deserves further analysis. Our position is that municipal (business tax funds) should be under the entire municipal jurisdiction and regulated and administered by the municipalities. As it is written, municipal autonomy is grossly violated,” reads the statement.
According to the Manufacturers Association Vice President Yandia Pérez, the municipalities will not suffer losses since the bill could benefit businesses.