The Puerto Rico Products Association expressed its support, but with reservations, of President Barack Obama’s proposal to increase minimum wage to $9 in 2015.
While the trade group believes it to be a fair move for workers, the Products Association warned that the increase must be tied to public policy to allow increased production and dramatically reduce the costs associated with operating a business in Puerto Rico, said Manuel Cidre, PRPA president.
“The government faces the challenge of evaluating mechanisms that enable reducing economic burdens Puerto Rican entrepreneurs are faced with daily, associated with high premiums from the State Insurance Fund, burdensome property taxes, lack of flexibility in working hours and the high costs of electricity, among others,” Cidre said.
“A reduction in these costs would allow many companies to redirect their financial resources toward further optimization, development and productivity. That would allow offering higher wages to their workers,” he added.
While recognizing that scaling back operating costs is important to mitigate the impact of a federal minimum wage increase, the PRPA also favors furthering the approval of legislative measures to support the development of local industry as well as those that promote increasing capital investments in Puerto Rico.
“We should encourage the productive capacity of Puerto Rican companies, so they can create more and better jobs, which in turn will strengthen the economy,” Cidre concluded.