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Thumbs Up Or Thumbs Down?
CARIBBEAN BUSINESS Evaluates The 14th Legislative Assembly During The First Two Years Of The Calderon Administration. Some Of The Legislators Work With Respect To Business And The Economy Will Surprise You.
By JOSE L. CARMONA
September 25, 2003
Legislative scorecard: The performance of Puerto Ricos representatives and senators under the Calderon administration has been mixed, with few meaningful pieces of legislation presented.
Its no secret that most people believe the work of the representatives and senators of the 14th Legislative Assembly during the first two years of Gov. Calderons administration hasnt met expectations.
Just how effective has the assembly been in presenting legislation that promotes economic development, streamlines government processes, and helps the business community? To find out, CARIBBEAN BUSINESS looked at hundreds of bills introduced since 2001.
CB has identified 41 pieces of legislation that became law in the past two years which, in our opinion, have had a positive or negative impact on Puerto Rico. We have also highlighted a number of bills under consideration that could seriously hurt business if passed.
To assess the work of our legislators, CB contacted the Puerto Rico Society of Certified Public Accountants (Society of CPAs), the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce (PRCC), and the Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association (PRMA). These organizations have legislative committees that constantly monitor and evaluate the bills proposed in both legislative chambers.
Fewer bills presented
Kenneth Rivera, chairman of the legislative committee of the Puerto Rico Society of CPAs, believes the number of bills introduced by the current Legislative Assembly is down compared with previous assemblies. "Whether the bills presented under the Calderon administration are better or worse than those presented by previous administrations is a subjective opinion," he told CARIBBEAN BUSINESS.
"As far as quality, the bills proposed could improve significantly, especially those that have an impact on the economy," said PRCC President Hector Mayol. "In the U.S. Congress, for example, there are budget offices and finance committees that evaluate a bills impact in terms of taxes, government spending, etc. We could do more of that here."
PRMA Executive Vice President William Riefkohl said his organization has endorsed including a cost-benefit analysis with all legislative proposals. "If the idea is implemented, many legislative proposals wont ever see the light of day, much less get approved," he said.
Riefkohl said except on rare exceptions, legislation is passed without a clear understanding of its effects. "Then we see the consequences in higher costs, additional processes that are unnecessary, duplication of effort, and so on," he said. "The problem gets bigger and worse, and everybody complains."
Mayol said measures involving small groups, known as rightful legislation, often are introduced hastily. "Thats when a community group goes to a legislator to present its problem or concern. The legislator immediately introduces a bill to solve the groups problem, but that legislation doesnt benefit the rest of the population," he said.
The CPAs Rivera said the bills presented by the 13th Legislative Assembly under the Rossello administration focused more on the public and were more political in nature. In comparison, the Legislative Assembly under the Calderon administration has approved many economic bills specifically meant to benefit certain industries or groups.
"They [the current Legislative Assembly] approved a bill to promote the construction of social interest housing, another to help local companies become public corporations, and another to help Section 936 manufacturing plants in danger of closing be acquired by local managers. It also approved tax credits for agriculture, for exporting local products, and so on," said Rivera. "Although good, these bills provided no major benefit to the general public."
One bill Rivera cited as benefiting a limited population increased from $3,000 to $3,500 the annual deduction taxpayers can claim for deposits into Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). "A lot of people contribute to IRAs, but not the majority of people," he said. "Furthermore, if I contribute only $1,000 or $2,000 to an IRA, the extra $500 that I can deduct now doesnt benefit me."
However, said Rivera, the government has responded to the people decrying that the bills presented have favored certain groups over them. "This year the governor presented six measures that provided tax deductions or credits to the people, such as higher deductions for childcare, higher deductions for married taxpayers filing jointly, and lower credits to those individuals earning higher incomes. People found these measures more useful," he said.
Rush to implement bills
Rivera said several bills, while not necessarily bad, harmed businesses, such as the one that increased the excise tax on liquor, cigarettes, sport utility vehicles (SUVs), and luxury vehicles. "The Calderon administration insisted that the previous administration left a budget deficit, which is why it raised the excise taxes," he said. "But we have always expressed concern that the Legislature tends to be hasty about implementing these types of bills."
Rivera also mentioned the bill passed in 2002 that increased to 7% the withholding for professional services rendered. He said the bill was approved two or three weeks before its implementation. "The Treasury Department had to provide an extension to allow people more time to get ready. Instead of July 1, 2002, the new requirement went into effect Aug. 1, 2002."
Rivera added that businesses had about a week to prepare for a new Treasury Department requirement that they submit their declarations in electronic form. "Businesses rushed to buy an expensive computer program in order to comply," he said.
"This type of situation leaves a sour taste in the mouth of the business community," said Rivera. "Most legislators and their bills are well-intentioned, but they could be communicated to the public and implemented better."
Higher cost of doing business
Mayol said the PRCC has participated in numerous hearings on proposed bills that would increase the cost of doing business in Puerto Rico. "For example, Severo Colberg proposed reducing the workweek from 40 hours to 35, and others have sought to increase the number of permits required to do business," he said.
If legislators are concerned about reducing unemployment, said Mayol, they should be looking at flextime or other work arrangements that give small businesses the flexibility they need to compete. "Big corporations might be able to absorb the higher cost of a 35-hour workweek by reorganizing their work force, but mom-and-pop businesses, which usually have a small payroll, will have a harder time," he said.
The PRMA also will continue to fight legislation that would increase business costs in Puerto Rico. Riefkohl said the organization is pleased that new Labor & Human Resources Secretary Frank Zorrilla has categorically opposed Colbergs proposal to shorten the workweek.
"We are glad the Labor secretary realized the inherent dangers of this proposal. You cant bring an experimental project from France, which has a superior socio-economic development than ours, to Puerto Rico, where we have a 12% unemployment rate, an 11% illiteracy rate, and a 60% poverty rate," said Riefkohl. "You cant pretend it isnt going to have negative repercussions."
The PRMA and PRCC are also concerned about the proposed Pharmacy Law (House Bill 1278), which Mayol described as legislation by request, meaning it was approved without considering its impact on small businesses. Mayol noted that Gov. Calderon returned the bill to the Legislature for further study only after the chambers intervention.
"This is a classic case of legislation by request, this time from a group in the pharmacy industry that believes protectionism is the only way to survive [because] big chains such as Walgreens and Wal-Mart are going to devour them," said Mayol. "On the pretext of updating the law, legislators took the pharmacy law of 1954 back to 1894 by placing greater restrictions on the way pharmacies do business."
PRMAs Riefkohl said although the proposed Pharmacy Law has a good intentionto help everyone understand drug labelsit would increase costs by requiring manufacturers to have a production line specifically for Puerto Rico. Besides, he said, 99% of the people dont read the inserts that come with medications, and pharmacists provide instructions for prescribed drugs in Spanish.
"What we need to do is seek voluntary compliance instead of imposing legislation," Riefkohl said. "If we begin a dialog with the pharmaceutical industry, well probably get a better response than the Legislature thinks. Voluntary compliance has worked well before here and in the States."
Riefkohl said if both chambers approve the bill, he will ask the governor to veto it.
Government red tape
One major burden on the private sector, according to Mayol, is the governments requirement that companies present certificates from the Treasury Department and the Child Support & Enforcement Administration (Asume by its Spanish acronym) in order to do business with the central government or to obtain a government permit.
Mayol wonders how many deadbeat parents the government has been able to catch through this requirement and whether legislators considered the extra expense, paperwork, and time it demands of small businesses.
"The PRCC would love to see the Legislature taking a closer look at problems such as this one, instead of making things more difficult for businesses," said Mayol. "Why dont they completely overhaul our laws and regulations to reduce the cost of doing business in Puerto Rico?"
The PRCC recently expressed its opposition to proposed amendments to the Mandatory Business Registration Law (House Bill 3713 presented by Rep. Guillermo Valero), which was passed during the last year of the Rossello administration.
"The Legislature approved the amendments despite our opposition," said Mayol. "The government has at least nine ways to obtain the information without requiring mandatory registration. Now, it wants to include all businesses and make the records available to the Police Department and, possibly later, to the Treasury Department."
Not all bills are bad
Just as the PRCC has objected to unfriendly bills, it has expressed its support of others considered beneficial to the business sector and to the islands economy, noted Mayol.
"We have spoken in favor of several bills that benefit the private sector, such as the Prompt Payment Law. It is a shame, though, that legislation is needed to force the government to comply with the law," said Mayol. "They had to create the position of the Prompt Payment Monitor to ensure compliance with the law."
The PRCC has also supported House Bill 2686, which aims to help small and midsize businesses acquire technological resources. House Vice Speaker Ferdinand Perez and Rep. Antonio Silva Delgado presented the bill; a similar bill was introduced in the Senate.
"The PRCC supported the bill in both chambers because it is about giving small and midsize businesses the means to acquire the tools to compete against the big guys," said Mayol. "The bill is awaiting the governors approval."
As for the PRMA, Riefkohl said the Legislative Assembly has been attentive and responsive to projects from the executive branch and from the PRMA that seek greater tax incentives for manufacturing activities, which is why he is surprised by the Legislatures delay in approving a bill that would amend the Tax Incentives Law to provide a tax incentive for medical and clinical trials conducted in Puerto Rico. He said such trials are performed in the States because of the lack of local incentives.
"Although we are generally satisfied with the approval of legislation that provides tax incentives, we arent satisfied with legislation that increases the cost of doing business in Puerto Rico," said Riefkohl. "Even though these might not be approved or might be vetoed, they send a dissuasive message to investors or companies contemplating establishing operations here."
Moving in the right direction
Mayol said he is aware of two proposed bills House Bill 906 and Senate Bill 2243) that would exempt small businesses from certain fees and size & distance requirements in placing promotional signs. "At least the Legislature is acting favorably by amending the existing law, which was costly and burdensome for many people and businesses," he said.
Rivera of the Society of CPAs has seen a slowdown lately in the number of economic development bills presented, but there is one in particular which the association is supporting. "The local State Department doesnt recognize limited liability companies, or LLCs," he said. "The Treasury Department and Puerto Rico Industrial Development Co. are proposing legislation to legalize LLCs in Puerto Rico. Thats a good piece of legislation."
Rivera also noted the Legislature intends to study the viability of replacing Puerto Ricos excise tax with a sales tax or value-added tax VAT) and of reforming the income tax system. A similar study begun by the Society of CPAs about a year-and-a-half ago should be ready in a couple of months, said Rivera, who believes the Legislature will use the study as a stepping-stone.
"In our viability study, we have [input from] stateside economists and consultants who have already worked on implementing a sales tax or VAT in other countries," said Rivera. "Whatever recommendation the society makes on the issue should be a good one and should be accepted."
14th Legislative Assembly
Hall of Fame
House Vice Speaker Ferdinand Perez (PDP) and New Progressive Party (NPP) Senate Minority Leader Kenneth McClintock get high marks from CARIBBEAN BUSINESS for the many bills they have proposed in the current Legislative Assembly aimed at helping the business sector and furthering Puerto Ricos economic development.
In his first term as representative, Perez has introduced numerous pieces of legislation that provide tax incentives to manufacturing facilities and encourage the purchase of locally manufactured products. In the past three years, the Inter American University graduate has presented more than 250 bills, the vast majority addressing the issue of economic development.
McClintock, a third-term senator, has proposed more than 130 bills in the current Legislative Assembly, tackling issues such as tax incentives; tourism; cooperatives; amendments to civil, penal, and criminal codes; incentives to manufacturing companies; and banking regulations.
Outrageous legislative proposals
Most people would agree the top issues Puerto Ricos 51 representatives and 27 senators must tackle are crime, unemployment, education, health, economic development, and corruption.
To be fair, many legislators do try to address these issues. But CARIBBEAN BUSINESS found a few interestingsome would say outrageouspieces of legislation introduced since the Calderon administration took office in 2001.
Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce President Hector Mayol and Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association Executive Vice President William Riefkohl believe the Full-Time Legislator Law is partly to blame, putting pressure on our legislators to produce quantity over quality.
Outrageous Proposals from the 14th Legislative Assembly
Rep. Carlos Vizcarrondo (PDP)
827: Creates law to give public officials (including members of Municipal Assembly and heads of government agencies and public corporations) vehicular access and reserved seating during sports, cultural, and recreational activities
Rep. Severo Colberg (PDP)
652: Requires all developers of new housing projects with more than 60 units priced at more than $60,000 each to cover the costs incurred by the municipality for waste disposal during the first three years of service to the project
Rep. Antonio Silva (NPP)
327: Orders all municipalities to require that all benches at bus stops be of recycled material (if available) and manufactured in Puerto Rico
Rep. Victor Garcia (PIP)
2145: Orders the government committee to identify the security San Inocencio measures taken by travel agencies and the Ports Authority to prevent the vehicular transport of children without their parents permission
Rep. Francisco Zayas Seijo (PDP)
674: Amends the Traffic & Vehicle Law; requires motor vehicles to be equipped with reflective safety triangles in case of a breakdown; instructs Department of Transportation & Public Works to provide such triangles free of charge
Rep. Jose Chico (NPP)
2379: Amends the Used-Oil Adequate Handling Law; eliminates the provision allowing the establishment of community recycling centers
Rep. Jose Varela (PDP)
530: Amends the Electoral Law to require a separate election for legislators 30 days after the general elections
Sen. Antonio Fas Alzamora (PDP)
220: Amends the law regulating the operation of commercial establishments; reinstates July 25 as a full legal holiday on which businesses must remain closed
Sen. Fernando Martin (PIP)
2: Declares Spanish the official language in all departments, municipalities, agencies, and offices in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
Sen. Roberto Vigoreaux (PDP)
2351: Requires all banking institutions with ATMs equip these with a keypad to access the 911 emergency response system free of charge; requires signs that warn of using the emergency system for fraudulent aims
Sen. Norma Burgos (NPP)
2254: Amends Traffic & Vehicle Law; requires a violator to pay a traffic fine within 30 days or be charged $5 for each month late, up to 18 months; if violator doesnt pay, charges will appear on notice of vehicles registration renewal
Sen. Angel Rodriguez Otero (PDP)
1418: Amends the Tourism Co. Law; states the Tourism Co. must prepare and publish in coordination with the Department of Transportation & Public Works maps identifying roads and points of tourist, historical, and social interest; maps legends must be published in Spanish, English, and French or another language deemed necessary
Sen. Roberto Prats (PDP)
0367: To congratulate the house cleaners of Puerto Rico during Elderly Month in May 2001
Source: House of Representatives archives
Kenneth McClintock: It isnt easy being part of the minority
Kenneth McClintock, Senate Minority Leader for the New Progressive Party (NPP), says the Calderon administrations treatment of minority parties is markedly different from their treatment under Rossello.
"When we were the governing party [1992-2000], we followed the philosophy that good ideas had no color. If you look at the legislative record of Popular Democratic Party senators, who were the minority under the Rossello administration, youll see that we approved many bills presented by them," McClintock told CARIBBEAN BUSINESS.
In contrast, McClintock said, the Legislative Assembly under the Calderon administration has signed only one of the 150 pieces of legislation he has introduced.
Such is his frustration that McClintock has instructed members of his delegation not to invest much time presenting bills. Instead, they should concentrate on researching the proposals of the majority so they are better prepared for legislative debates.
"Our output in terms of bills filed was greater during the first two years of the Calderon administration. It hasnt been a total shutdown, but we have reduced the number of bills proposed because it simply isnt worth it," McClintock said. "They arent willing to even consider, much less approve, our bills."
One area in which he believes the NPPs Senate delegation has been effective is in its inquiry role. "I think we have been particularly effective in presenting amendments to bill proposals from the majority, even if they are rejected eventually," said McClintock, now in his third term in the Senate.
One example is a bill presented by Gov. Calderon in 2001 to reduce the capital-gains tax from 20% to 10%. The NPPs Senate delegation presented an amendment whereby the tax reduction would apply only if the person reinvested the capital gains in Puerto Ricos economy. The amendment was rejected.
"As a result, the tax cut became an escape valve; many people sold their properties in Puerto Rico and reinvested in Florida, not here," McClintock said. "Im interested in creating jobs in Puerto Rico, not in Central Florida."
Had the majority approved the NPP amendment, 5,000 to 10,000 more jobs would have been created, said McClintock.
He noted a similar situation occurred earlier this year when the Senate was discussing the central governments general budget for the 2003-2004 fiscal year.
"We proposed cutting the budgets of certain government agencies in order to allocate additional funds to the fight against crime. The funds were going to be used to improve the forensic science lab and purchase mobile labs for crime scene investigations," said McClintock. "Now, the Calderon administration admits the recent crime wave is the result of a lack of evidence-gathering at crime scenes, which prevents the police from arresting criminals."
In general, said McClintock, legislators costs have gotten way out of hand and productivity has gone down considerably. Even punctuality was a major problem until the Senate hearings began to be televised this year. "Now, they are tightening their belts," he said.
Select Bills from the 14th Legislative Assembly
Approved During the 1st & 2nd Ordinary Sessions of 2001
Bill / Law / Description / CB Says. . .*
House Bill 743 / Law No. 15-April 11, 2001 / Orders certain government agency officials to implement the Extended Working Hours Program through a contract agreement with employees / +
Senate Bill 207 / Law No. 22-April 11, 2001 / Amends the P.R. Internal Revenue Code of 1994; increases deduction for preschool and elementary dependants from $200 to $300 and for high-school dependants from $300 to $400 / +
House Bill 745 / Law No. 24April 11, 2001 / Amends the P.R. Internal Revenue Code of 1994; reduces long-term capital gains tax on the sale of property in Puerto Rico / +
Senate Bill 214 / Law No. 35June 13, 2001 / Amends the P.R. Internal Revenue Code of 1994; eliminates the 10% penalty when withdrawing from an IRA before age 60 if used to purchase a computer for student / -
House Bill 860 / Law No. 50July 3, 2001 / Repeals Law No. 322 of Nov. 6, 1999 and certain sections of the P.R. Income Tax Revenue Code of 1994, thus re-imposing on air carriers the obligation to collect excise taxes on behalf of the local Treasury Department / -
Senate Bill 644 / Law No. 98Aug. 10, 2001 / Creates the Tax Credit for Extraordinary Investment in Housing Infrastructure Law / +
House Bill 775 / Law No. 110Aug. 17, 2001 / Amends Part B of Section 5 of the Tax Incentives Law of 1998; increases the credit for the purchase of locally manufactured products available to businesses exempt per the Tax Incentives Law or previous laws / +
House Bill 777 / Law No. 112 Aug. 17, 2001 / Amends Section 4 of the Tax Incentives Law of 1998; extends the special credit for investment in buildings, structures, machinery, and equipment to any exempt business already enjoying any of the provisions of the Tax Incentives Law / +
House Bill 778 / Law No. 113Aug. 17, 2001 / Amends Section 4 of the Tax Incentives Law of 1998; extends tax benefits for training, research, and development expenses to any business already enjoying any provisions of the Tax Incentives Law / +
House Bill 857 / Law No. 132Sept. 17, 2001 / Establishes the Quality of Cement Law, a protectionist measure against imported cement / -
Senate Bill 797 / Law No. 141Oct. 4, 2001 / Amends Section 1101 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1994; exempts owners of condo-hotels, vacation clubs, and Tourist Improvement District property from the payment of income taxes / +
House Bill 1493 / Law No. 143Oct. 4, 2001 / Exempts from tax the income received by financial institutions from fees charged during the issue of guarantees covering payment of principal and interest on notes issued to finance tourist development projects. A measure to boost private investment in tourism projects
House Bill 1494 / Law No. 144Oct. 4, 2001 / Amends Sections 1014 and 1121 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1994; amends definition of an eligible person; promotes development of corporations and special societies into public companies; promotes the issue and conversion of debt from public companies / +
House Bill 1496 / Law No. 145Oct. 4, 2001 / Amends Section 3 of the Puerto Rico Tax Incentives Law of 1998; provides tax benefits to pioneering technology companies that establish operations in Puerto Rico / +
House Bill 1665 / Law No. 169Dec. 3, 2001 / Adds Sections 1049D and 1049E to the Internal Revenue Code of 1994; provides tax credits to businesses that acquire locally manufactured products for export or for sale locally / +
House Bill 1817 / Law No. 172Dec. 6, 2001 / Amends Article 7 of Law No. 157Aug. 11, 2000; postpones the dispositions in Part D of Section 1011 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1994, thus postponing the elimination of the marriage penalty / -
House Bill 1664 / Law No. 174Dec. 17, 2001 / Adds Parts 3 and 4 to Section 6 of the Tax Incentives Law of 1998; exempts equipment and machinery used by exempt businesses from excise taxes / +
* + = Thumbs Up, - = Thumbs Down
Select Bills from the 14th Legislative Assembly
Approved During the 3rd & 4th Ordinary Sessions of 2002
Bill / Law / Description / CB Says. . .*
House Bill 886 / Law No. 7Jan. 4, 2002 / Amends Article 5 of Law No. 379 of May 15, 1948; limits private employers discretion in establishing their employees work schedule; employers must give priority to flextime requests from mothers with small children and single parents with custody of their children / -
House Bill 1805 / Law No. 16Jan. 5, 2002 / Orders the Economic Development Bank to establish a special emergency-loan fund for small businesses in the tourism industry / +
House Bill 1364 / Law No. 17Jan. 5, 2002 / Adds Section 1040C to the Internal Revenue Code of 1994; provides a tax credit to locally established manufacturing companies for the purchase of locally manufactured products / +
House Bill 1158 / Law No. 21Jan. 5, 2002 / Amends Law No. 168 of May 4, 1949 to impose further restrictions to the Building Code, in this case pertaining to the safety of buildings in the event of a hurricane / -
House Bill 1314 / Law No. 24Jan. 5, 2002 / Establishes a sports-related leave without pay for public- and private-sector employees that train full time and represent the island at international events / -
House Bill 1924 / Law No. 28Jan. 13, 2002 / Amends the Puerto Rico Employment Security Law; requires all employers to submit quarterly wage reports to the Labor & Human Resources Department / -
House Bill 1182 / Law No. 47March 3, 2002 / Amends the Puerto Rico Insurance Code; allows condominiums under the Horizontal Property Law to obtain insurance from unauthorized insurance companies when denied by two authorized insurance companies / +
Senate Bill 1270 / Law No. 58April 24, 2002 / Amends Section 1023 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1994; authorizes the Treasury secretary to exempt taxpayers from having to include proof of itemized deductions on their income tax returns / +
House Bill 2241 / Law No. 63May 16, 2002 / Amends Section 2009 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1994; increases excise tax on cigarettes / -
House Bill 2242 / Law No. 64May 16, 2002 / Adds Section 1169A to the Internal Revenue Code of 1994; temporarily allows funds withdrawn from IRAs to be taxed at a lower rate / -
House Bill 2091 / Law No. 65May 30, 2002 / Amends the Puerto Rico Insurance Code; allows the insurance of mortgage loans in excess of 97% financing; allows mortgage insurers to offer higher coverages when the excess is reinsured / +
House Bill 2244 / Law No. 69May 30, 2002 / Amends Sections 4002 and 4023 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1994; increases the excise tax on distilled spirits, wines, and beer / +
House Bill 2245 / Law No. 70May 30, 2002 / Amends Internal Revenue Code of 1994; raises excise taxes on sport utility and luxury vehicles / -
House Bill 1917 / Law No. 81June 10, 2002 / Amends Law No. 120 of Oct. 31, 1994; imposes a 3% deduction on payments made to corporations for services rendered / -
House Bill 2449 / Law No. 104July 19, 2002 / Adds Chapter 30 to the Puerto Rico Insurance Code; sets terms for insurance companies to pay claims of health providers; sets the procedure for objecting to claims; sets penalties / +
House Bill 2585 / Law No. 105July 19, 2002 / Amends Law No. 72 of Sept 7, 1993; authorizes the Medical Services Administration to contract health services providers directly; exempts health organizations contracted by the Medical Services Administration from complying with Insurance Commissioners Office regulations / -
Senate Bill 1295 / Law No. 122Aug. 8, 2002 / Amends Law No. 223 of Aug. 29, 2000; renames it the Lucy Buscana Fund for Soap Opera, Miniseries, and Documentaries Law / -
House Bill 1365 / Law No. 157Aug. 10, 2002 / Creates the Made in Puerto Rico Fund; assigns a measly $1 million to the P. R. Industrial Development Co. for developing a promotional campaign to market locally made products / -
House Bill 1725 / Law No. 159 Aug. 10, 2002 / Adds Article 8 to the Voluntary Business Registry Law; establishes compulsory registration of all businesses in Puerto Rico and authorizes the Economic Development & Commerce secretary to impose a registration charge and penalties for nonregistration; sets charges for the use of the registry / -
House Bill 1175 / Law No. 188Aug. 17, 2002 / Amends Section 2036 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1994; provides bona fide artisans with an exemption from excise taxes on machinery, equipment and other tools needed for the creation of Puerto Rican arts and crafts / +
House Bill 2208 / Law No. 198Aug. 18, 2002 / Establishes the Investment & Cooperative Development Fund of Puerto Rico through a government assignment of $25 million, whereby government of Puerto Rico becomes direct investor in cooperative enterprise / -
House Bill 2603 / Law No. 225Aug. 29, 2002 / Amends the Puerto Rico Tax Incentives Law of 1998; provides a special tax rate of 2% or 4% to certain exempt businesses; provides 100% municipal tax exemption during the first five years of business operations and a 100% excise tax exemption for the purchase of needed equipment to promote the establishment in Puerto Rico of corporate headquarters / +
House Bill 2633 / Law No. 226 Aug. 29, 2002 / Amends Sections 3 and 6 of the Puerto Rico Tax Incentives Law of 1998; provides a 100% income tax exemption and a partial exemption on excise taxes, patents, and municipal taxes to exempt businesses in Vieques or Culebra and to exempt businesses in other municipalities in a financial situation similar to that of businesses in the two island municipalities / +
House Bill 2055 / Law No. 228 Sept. 19, 2002 / Amends the Tourism Co. Law; requires that tourism businesses in Puerto Rico provide the necessary statistical data to help develop a database that would aid in developing and marketing the destination / -
+ = Thumbs Up, - = Thumbs Down
Source: House of Representatives
This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.