May 17,2018

Press Contact:

Katie Niederee (Hatch), 202-224-4515
Arielle Mueller (Rubio), 202-224-3041

Hatch, Rubio Introduce Legislation to Promote Stability, Prosperity in Puerto Rico

New Bill Provides Tax Relief, Reforms to Improve Island's Economic Outlook

WASHINGTON – Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) today introduced S. 2873, the Puerto Rico Economic Empowerment Act of 2018, which would implement recommendations by the Congressional Task Force on Economic Growth in Puerto Rico.

“Puerto Ricans have been stuck with a stagnant economy, shaky government finances and – to make matters worse – are still recovering from devastating hurricane damage even as this year’s hurricane season is quickly approaching,” Hatch said. “This legislation builds on the strong bipartisan work of the Congressional Task Force on Economic Growth in Puerto Rico and makes important reforms to promote growth and stability in Puerto Rico. By cutting employees’ taxes, we are injecting relief straight into the pocketbooks of Puerto Rican workers. We are also making it easier for Main Street businesses to access programs that facilitate lending and development through the Small Business Administration, which will help local entrepreneurs prosper. These smart policies have been vetted by a bipartisan task force and will go a long way to shift the island’s current economic landscape, as well as help put Puerto Rico back on strong fiscal footing."

“This bill would enact critical tax provisions for Puerto Rico excluded from the recent disaster relief package, like a payroll tax holiday and expanded child tax credit, which would help alleviate the tax burden for Puerto Ricans rebuilding their lives in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria,” Rubio said. “The bill would also give flexibility to small businesses on the island by enacting several of the recommendations made by the Congressional Task Force on Economic Growth in Puerto Rico. I am proud to have worked with Senator Hatch on this bill, and I urge my colleagues to quickly pass it so that we can deliver long overdue relief to Puerto Rico.” 

The Puerto Rico Economic Empowerment Act of 2018:

  • Provides tax relief for Puerto Rican workers for two years, cutting their payroll taxes in half to 3.1 percent;
  • Makes families with one or two children eligible for the federal child tax credit, providing more equitable treatment for Puerto Rican families;
  • Provides greater flexibility for Small Business Administration Programs to help Puerto Rico’s small business owners during a prolonged economic downturn;
  • Establishes a Federal Statistical Research Data Center in Puerto Rico and calls for Puerto Rico to be included in more economic surveys to improve the availability of economic statistics in Puerto Rico; and
  • Is fully offset.

A one-pager of the bill can be found here.
Bill text can be found here.

Background: The bipartisan Congressional Task Force on Economic Growth in Puerto Rico was established by Section 409 of the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA). Hatch chaired the task force last Congress, which released a report in December 2016 identifying impediments to growth and providing recommended changes to promote long-term economic growth and stability, spur new job creation, reduce child poverty, and attract investment in the territory.