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Cat-5 Tax-Increase Shitstorm Headed Straight For Puerto Rico
He definitely blows...and sucks!
The job of rebuilding Puerto Rico will get an extra little bit harder, thanks to some tax-"reform" fuckery inserted into the GOP Tax Cuts For Rich Fuckwads bill slated to be passed today (again, because they fucked up the first time ) and signed by Donald Trump as soon as someone points him to the right line, then makes sure he doesn't draw angry lightning bolts and frowny faces all over it. You see, even though Puerto Rico was already stuck with a $70 billion debt crisis before it was devastated by Hurricane Maria, a mostly unnoticed provision in the new tax bill will raise taxes on businesses operating on the island, making it more expensive for them to manufacture stuff and provide services than on the US mainland. Why? Apparently because the idiots writing the bill forgot Puerto Rico is actually a US territory -- or just wanted to stick it to the island. HuffPost explains:
House Republicans voted Tuesday to impose a 12.5 percent tax on intellectual property income made by U.S. companies operating on the island and a minimum 10 percent tax on their profits in Puerto Rico [...]
The provision, tucked into the GOP’s tax reform bill, was intended to stop American companies from dodging federal taxes by shifting their profits overseas. But because the U.S. tax code treats Puerto Rico as a foreign territory, business operations on the island will get hit.
It's not like Puerto Rico didn't try to remind Congress that it actually is part of the USA and that Puerto Ricans are US citizens -- leaders from the territory had been urging Republicans to exempt Puerto Rico from that tax increase. But Puerto Rico doesn't actually have a vote in Congress, just a non-voting "resident commissioner," Jenniffer González, who was easily ignored ... even though she's a Republican. Besides, most members of Congress who have Puerto Rican roots are Democrats, another group that's technically "American" but utterly ignored in the construction of the tax bill.
For all the good it would do, New York Rep. Nydia Velázquez warned that the tax bill would hit the already-struggling island -- where, oh yeah, only 70 percent of the electrical grid is restored after three months -- with an "economic hurricane":
“Puerto Rico is in the grip of a humanitarian crisis,” she fumed on the House floor. “Let’s be clear: Puerto Ricans are American citizens. They fight in our wars, many of them laying down their lives for our freedoms. Yet this bill continues treating Puerto Rico differently than the rest of the United States.”
Velázquez noted that Speaker Paul Ryan and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy had made a big show of traveling to Puerto Rico and promising to help the island's residents recover from Maria:
“They looked the people of Puerto Rico in the eye and made promises to help them,” she said. “This is how you help Puerto Rico?”
No, the House leaders' offices didn't have any comment on her criticism. They were too busy celebrating making America rich again.
Puerto Rico's governor, Ricardo Rosselló, condemned the tax measures, saying they would have a negative impact on half of the Puerto Rican economy, affecting 30 percent of the island's governmental revenue and as many as 250,000 jobs in an economy where unemployment has sharply increased following the economic crisis and then the hurricane.
In an interview with the Miami Herald, he called out Republicans for their empty promises:
“Many senators and congressman came to Puerto Rico and they pledged their support. But when the time came to support Puerto Rico, they essentially bailed,” Rosselló said. “I am very disappointed with the fact the Senator (Marco) Rubio is going to be voting for this tax bill particularly when we had the opportunity to address the potentially devastating effects on Puerto Rico.”
Florida Rep. Darren Soto, the only Puerto Rican in Florida's Congressional delegation, warned that Republicans who've screwed over Puerto Ricans with this tax bill may reap the whirlwind, with votes. The island may have no direct power in Congress, but Puerto Ricans on the mainland are going to remember this in November:
"If nothing changes (in the tax bill) it’s going to explode, there’s even more Puerto Ricans arriving in Florida,” Soto said. “They already have a bad taste in their mouth because of Trump, and this is going to add more salt to the wounds. With a million of us already here and 250,000 more arriving in the last two months, I would imagine that would be enough political pressure."
Attention Florida Democrats: You've got a lot of very pissed, very eligible voters arriving. Make sure they get the help they need to navigate the roadblocks to voter registration the Rs are so fond of, and turn that state purple.