Washington (Agenzia Fides) - "If Congress treats American citizens living in Puerto Rico differently from American citizens living in the 50 States, considering our island as a foreign jurisdiction, we believe that the recovery for our island will almost be impossible": write the main religious leaders of Puerto Rico, Archbishop of San Juan, Mgr. Roberto O. González Nieves OFM, and the secretary of the Biblical Society of Puerto Rico, rev. Heriberto Martínez-Rivera in a letter addressed to the US Congress.
In the letter, also sent to Fides, the leaders express their concerns, and "respectfully request that all members of Congress guarantee that a final tax reform plan does not impose new taxes on Puerto Rico".
Working together with the Jubilee USA religious network and US religious groups, the Archbishop and the evangelical leader have, for almost two years, asked Congress to urge policies that promote economic growth and reduce the Island’s burden of debts and the high rate of child poverty. In the letter they wrote to Congress, they underline the risk that, in an already serious situation, tens of thousands of American jobs could be lost in Puerto Rico if the Senate and House Committee will not remove the excise duty from the final legislation.
"If Congress fails to remove this excise tax in the final tax package, it will be like hitting Puerto Rico with another hurricane", said Jubilee USA director Eric LeCompte, who assists religious leaders in Puerto Rico and collaborates with UN expert groups. "Before the hurricanes, we were dealing with a serious financial crisis and almost half of all Puerto Rican children lived in poverty - emphasizes LeCompte - now we are facing a full-blown humanitarian crisis, which Congress could solve for the best or for the worst". (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 11/12/2017)