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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Rep. Méndez stresses inflated food prices in call to pass tax relief bill

Rep. Carlos “Johnny” Méndez Nuñez

By The Star Staff

In an attempt to alleviate the effects of inflation, particularly with the price of food, which exceeds 10%, the New Progressive Party minority leader in the House of Representatives, Carlos “Johnny” Méndez Nuñez, urged the approval of House Bill (HB) 1576, which establishes tax adjustments to alleviate the increase in the Cost of Living Allowance (COLA).

“Every day we see how the increase in COLA affects the quality of life of our people,” the legislator said. “HB 1576, an administration initiative filed by our delegation, the Popular Democratic Party and Representative Luis Raul Torres on January 5, provides real relief to the people in the face of the high prices we are seeing, particularly in food and transportation. All the municipalities of Puerto Rico will be positively impacted with the approval of this measure, so we reiterate our request that it be addressed with urgency.”

The measure amends Puerto Rico’s Internal Revenue Code to include, for the first time in modern history, tax adjustments to alleviate the increase in the cost of living and to change mortgage interest deduction limits, as well as contributions to individual retirement systems and contributions to educational accounts. In addition, it increases the deduction for dependents, among other benefits.

“The implementation of this inflation relief program represents a cost of $67 million, according to studies by the Treasury Department itself,” Méndez Nuñez said, while noting the work of Rep. Joel Franqui Atiles in quantifying the bill’s benefits. “I am convinced that it is more than achievable and that the Financial Oversight and Management Board will have no qualms, because we have excess collections; what we have to do is approve the measure now.”

The current inflation rate for food products stands at 10.2%, one of the highest in the island’s history. Inflation is defined as an increase in the prices of goods and services whereby the purchasing power of the dollar is weakened.

Meanwhile, the Consumer Price Index on transportation is at 127.44%, one of the highest rates in the past 25 years.

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