Puerto Ricans Will Revenge for Tax Bill, Governor Promises

Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló announced mobilization of 5.3 million Puerto Ricans living on the mainland to shake up the midterm elections in states ranging from Florida to California, Politico reports.

Rosselló is a Democrat and member of the New Progressive Party, who is angry because of the GOP tax plan. According to him, the plan could hobble the economy of Puerto Rico even as thousands of residents remain without power and water three months after the devastating Hurricane Maria.

“Everybody has seen the damage of the storm and yet policy decisions go in the opposite direction of where they should go. We’re not just going to stand by. We are going to take action,” Rosselló said.

About 3.4 million people living on the island have U.S. citizenship, but they do not have a vote in Congress. Yet, 5.3 million fellow Puerto Ricans live on the mainland. They do have a vote and Rosselló plans to use that power.

“We are a significant voting bloc in the United States that perhaps hasn’t been organized well in the past. The diaspora, the Puerto Rican exodus, has always wanted to help Puerto Rico, it just hasn’t been crystal clear how they can do it. If we can establish that organization we can have plenty of influence,” he said.

The new plan struck down tax and manufacturing rules that allowed Puerto Rico to have both foreign and domestic status. The system made Puerto Rico a tax haven for drug and medical device creators, who can incorporate in the commonwealth as foreign subsidiaries, but tag their products as if they were produced in the States.

The new legislation says that businesses in Puerto Rico would be treated the same as those operating outside of the U.S. That means their taxes would increase at 12.5 percent on intellectual property. Rosselló will not give up even if he can get the tax changes fixed and pick up other legislative wins.

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