Representatives from more than a dozen labor unions and the private sector met with Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi Thursday to outline strategies to defend the Puerto Rico Investment Promotion Act and the American Jobs Act, both of which they claim could spur economic development for the island.
During the meeting, Pierluisi told the group — which included representatives from some 20 local professional organizations headed by the Private Sector Coalition — that he sent a letter to Thomas Barthold, chief of staff of the White House Joint Committee on Taxation, asking for a revenue estimate of what H.R. 2030 — the bill proposing the PRIPA submitted in Congress — would represent.
“In economic times like the ones Puerto Rico and the U.S. are experiencing promoting the PRIPA law and the American Jobs Act before Congress is the right step,” said Pierluisi. “I am pleased to have the support of the island’s union representatives, private sector representatives and leaders of other parties.”
The meeting with Pierluisi took place at the request of the union and the private sector which gathered for several hours Wednesday to discuss the proposals currently on the table to jumpstart the island’s economic and labor activity.
In what may constitute a historic outcome, the groups agreed on numerous issues anchored around the fact that unity is needed to to boost job creation and economic investment in Puerto Rico.
“By presenting a united front for these initiatives we’re delivering a strong message that this is an important priority for all Puerto Ricans,” said Pierluisi.
H.R. 2030 is Puerto Rico’s latest effort in Congress to get incentives for companies doing business on the island. The bill seeks to create section 933A, an amendment to the U.S. Internal Revenue Code to give companies incorporated in Puerto Rico a preferential tax rate if more than 50 percent of its gross income from activity on the island. Companies could also benefit from reduced dividend payments when repatriating profits back to their stateside parent companies.
In his lobbying efforts, Pierluisi is telling Congress that the amendment would generate new income for the federal government. The benefit could also lure new investments in Puerto Rico, and associated job creation.
Pierluisi is seeking to meet with Barthold to provide further details of the proposed amendment.
The American Jobs Act, which includes Puerto Rico, could benefit island workers and employers through reduced contributions to Social Security and Medicare, as well as from tax credits to companies. Local labor leaders are throwing their support behind the bill, and are ready to travel to Washington to lobby on its behalf, representatives said Wednesday.