I recently read an article in the NY Times on how Puerto Rico has changed their tax laws to attract the affluent super rich class to move to the island where they will be able to save on a host of new tax incentives. “Move your operations to sunny Puerto Rico and keep most of your profits” is the basic call to this sector of the population that is always looking for a way to evade paying taxes.
I am not against Puerto Rico becoming another tax haven for the wealthy, but I do have a problem with Puerto Rican leaders believing that this is the solution to the worsening Puerto Rico financial crisis. The islands unemployment rate is double that of the states. Puerto Rico’s per-capita income is like $15,200, half that of Mississippi, the poorest state in the nation. And the Puerto Rico bonds were recently lowered to one notch above Junk Bonds. Our beautiful island is at the brink of a serious financial meltdown and the best idea they could come up with was to make the island a tax haven? Give me a break!
Here is another idea. Why not concentrate on the 4.7 million Puerto Ricans living here in the USA and our approximate $70 Billion dollars consumer purchasing power? You don’t have to be an Oxford economist to see these numbers and project what could happen if a percentage of us stateside Boricuas began to invest more in vacationing, investing, buying property, building our summer, or future retirement homes, etc, etc. on the island.
However, to do this would mean the politicians in Puerto Rico would have to get serious and stop a lot of their shenanigans among the political parties and roll up their sleeves to find creative ways to attract us to invest in our island. This might be a little more difficult than convincing “un Americano” to move his/her operations to the island because “we have been there and done that.” To get us to seriously think about Puerto Rico as the Jews think of Israel would mean a total overhaul of the mentality of the Puerto Rican political leaders something that might be too difficult.
However, I am an optimist and believe that this will eventually happen by default. Over twenty years ago I read an article form a great Puerto Rican intellectual, Jose Manuel Pasalacqua. He stated that he believed that Puerto Rico would improve when the sons and daughters of the migrant workers (like my father) who left the island to find work in the states return to the island. As more and more Puerto Ricans leave the island for work on the mainland, more and more stateside Boricuas are buying little bits of land and homes and are moving to the island. Those who are not moving to permanently live on the island are visiting more frequently and many are becoming snowbirds. Something that I eventually want to do, leave New York in the winter and return in the summer. Oh how I look forward to that.
This is the New York Times article: SOURCE