Gov. Ricardo Rosselló signed three legislative measures that seek to stimulate the economy and create new jobs in Puerto Rico, with special emphasis on small and medium enterprise, or SMEs.
The measures — submitted by La Fortaleza — are House Bill 878 amending Law 20 of 2012 and Senate Bills 369 and 284, amending Law 22 of 2012 and Law 73 of 2008, respectively.
“In the Plan for Puerto Rico we committed to encouraging SMEs and promote innovation and technology. With the signing of these measures we continue to strengthen Puerto Rico as an investment destination and encourage the export of services,” the governor said during a signing ceremony.
Amendments to Act 20-2012 allow more people to invest in Puerto Rico by relaxing the requirements for decrees. The requirement of a minimum of five employees to export services from Puerto Rico through local companies was removed, allowing SMEs to qualify.
The changes also empower doctors to use incentives to offer telemedicine services and medical tourism, making it more attractive for physicians to practice in the island.
Meanwhile, amendments to Law 22-2012 seeks that individual resident investors contribute $5 billion annually to nonprofit organizations operating in Puerto Rico. In addition, they eliminate bureaucratic requirements that hindered the application of the incentives offered by the law.
Yadira Valdivia, spokeswoman for the Sor Isolina Ferré Centers — a nonprofit organization dedicated to working with the most disadvantaged communities — stressed that the amendments to Law 22 establish a formal mechanism for this group to channel their sense of social responsibility and contribute to Puerto Rico’s socioeconomic development by strengthening nonprofits.
Finally, amendments to Law 73-2008 encourage economic investment in the area of research and development by allowing companies operating with federal grants, especially SMEs and startups, can receive the tax credits offered by the law.
In addition, Law 73-2008 allows for 10 percent of the money paid to the Special Economic Development Fund to be earmarked for special incentives in establishing programs to encourage and promote investment in innovation, science, technology; export of goods and services related to innovation, science and technology services; and training for SMEs.
Economic Development and Commerce Secretary Manuel A. Laboy-Rivera, said “these amendments are aimed at creating a program to direct incentives and efforts to develop a local high-impact entrepreneurial class and export potential in strategic sectors such as advanced manufacturing, aerospace and aeronautics.”
“At the same time, Puerto Rico’s transition will be pushed toward a model of economic development based on the knowledge economy and innovation, using Puerto Rico’s most attractive incentive: the tax credit for research and development under this statute,” Laboy-Rivera added.