Gubernatorial candidate Vázquez’s economic platform focuses on tourism
One of the six candidates running for governor of Puerto Rico, César Vázquez, has unveiled an economic platform that, among other things, calls for spending $400 million on tourism strategies from the $2.2 billion in federal funds allocated to fight COVID-19.
The candidate, who represents the Proyecto Dignidad movement, has a full section entitled “Economic Development for Puerto Rico,” that presents public policy guidelines on economic development in general with the reorganization of those sectors that can be better served by private companies, institutions or nonprofits, respectively.
Vázquez identified the rescue of tourism as one of the main issues of economic improvement on his campaign, according to his proposed platform.
This way, he intends to boost the tourism sector of Puerto Rico to face the obstacles of the pandemic while also implementing health and safety measurements that will make the island more attractive now and in the near future.
Furthermore, in his platform there is a section entitled “Concrete measures to facilitate the disbursement of federal funds,” which highlights the redirecting of the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) Program funds, to rebuild the maritime port and airport infrastructures to position Puerto Rico on the map when it comes to the distribution of import and export of goods.
In other words, position Puerto Rico as the key point in the Caribbean and in South America for the movement of merchandise through air, land, and sea.
As for the entrepreneurial sector, Proyecto Dignidad proposes to reallocate around 10% of the 750,000 square feet of the Public Buildings Authority’s unused facilities and lend a number of the 600 abandoned schools to small businesses at a low cost for a period of no more than five years.”
In addition, rural sectors must identify government-owned properties, land or farms in disuse to lease them to farmers with the commitment of an income that is consistent with the harvest proposed or in conjunction with a public-private partnership.
When it comes to agricultural transformation, his platform states: “Vázquez’s objective is to promote, in a maximum period of five years, a 50% growth of Puerto Rico’s total agricultural production, which would increase the results from $570 million to $855 million. This would be done by integrating the Department of Education and the University of Puerto Rico as potential instruments for development, orientation, and education for new and preexisting agricultural entrepreneurs.”
The party would l also promote new farming techniques in controlled environments or AgTechs, such as: “In City Farms” or “Local Grown Salads.”
His platform aims to reduce regulations and permits for the approval in the opening of small businesses. The proposal also notes attracting new manufacturing to Puerto Rico, lowering the tax system and reducing the cost associated with bureaucratic processes.
In relation to permits and bureaucratic processes, the candidate suggests granting six-month automatic permits for businesses that do not require environmental or health impact studies. This permit would be granted as long as the business makes the commitment to comply with the requirements outlined specifically for them, Vázquez’s platform states.
In his platform, Vázquez also includes the elderly sector in public and private business projects, jointly with the federal Elder Task Force following the requirements in the Elder Protection Act of 2018.