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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Mayors Assn. urges gov’t to make LUMA pay money owed to towns



Puerto Rico Mayors Association President Luis Javier Hernández Ortiz

By The Star Staff


Mayors Association President Luis Javier Hernández Ortiz and a group of fellow mayors, along with a legal team, met Monday to discuss the dispute with LUMA Energy, as neither the private operator of the island’s electricity transmission and distribution system nor its contractors are paying municipal construction taxes.


The towns oppose government plans to issue a decree exempting LUMA Energy from paying certain taxes. Hernández Ortiz said the proposed tax exemption can not be approved because it does not comply with the fiscal plan in that it would drive up the municipal debt, which was already restructured.


Santa Isabel Mayor Rafael Burgos Santiago said LUMA told his municipality it will reevaluate agreements reached in 2017 to determine which municipal facilities will not be exempted from payments. Comerio Mayor José Antonio Santiago Rivera said that whenever towns owe money to the government, it is automatically discounted.


He urged the government to stop paying LUMA until it complies with the tax payments to municipalities.


In recent days and through his social networks, Hernández Ortiz has been emphatic about LUMA Energy’s obligation to pay taxes and excise duties in the face of the threat of raising the energy cost again for the consumer.


“I maintain that threatening the families, businesses and industries of Puerto Rico with increasing the [electricity] bill again if the exemption decree is not granted is a lack of respect for the country,” the Villalba mayor said. “Mr. Mario Hurtado [LUMA’s chief regulatory officer] must retract what he says. I ask him to explain to the country how much private money they will invest in their work in the next 10 years and we will gladly evaluate their request. But as long as it is with state or federal money, it is totally inappropriate to [issue] any decree for them or anyone.”

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alishakihn1
May 08

He urged the government to stop paying LUMA until it complies with the tax payments to municipalities. Flappy Bird

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