In an op-ed published February 17 in Fox News Latino, Justin Vélez-Hagan, Public Policy Ph.D. student and Executive Director of The National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce, argues recent policies put forth by Puerto Rico’s government are not the solution for long-term economic growth and development.
Vélez-Hagan writes Puerto Rico’s “Jobs Now Act” was intended to grow the economy by offering tax exemptions and credits along with incentives for hiring underemployed groups, but the cost to hire and train new employees far outweighs the benefits of the new policy.
“It’s especially surprising given the latest employment numbers,” writes Vélez-Hagan. “According to the Government Development Bank of Puerto Rico, employment trends have yet to improve. While unemployment actually fell by a full percentage point in 2012, it completely reversed this trend in the first year of this administration, climbing from 14.6 percent to 15.4 percent by December.”
In the column, Vélez-Hagan offers alternative solutions for improving Puerto Rico’s economy and creating jobs.
“Even if they are finally able to balance their budget, the governor is going to have to push beyond his political limits to focus on incentives for growing businesses in Puerto Rico, such as rolling back the higher tax rates, expanding the incentive for foreign investment, and explicitly targeting companies in high-growth industries for residency in Puerto Rico,” he adds.
You can read the full article titled “Puerto Rico Still Doesn’t Get What Makes an Economy Tick” on Fox News Latino’s website here.
This post originally appeared in UMBC Insights.