Dems Seek Tax Relief for Puerto Rico 10/17 06:09
A group of Democratic lawmakers are asking for tax relief for
hurricane-stricken Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, saying people and
businesses in the two U.S. territories don't enjoy the same benefits as those
in the mainland.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A group of Democratic lawmakers are asking for tax relief
for hurricane-stricken Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, saying people
and businesses in the two U.S. territories don't enjoy the same benefits as
those in the mainland.
The lawmakers are asking Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, head of the tax-writing
House Ways and Means Committee, to work on legislation that would, for example,
extend the earned income tax credit for low- to moderate-income workers to
Puerto Rico and increase the amounts paid under the low-income housing tax
The House last week passed a $36.5 billion disaster aid package for Puerto
Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. But that relief was "paltry" for the
territories' residents "given that they are not able to avail themselves of
some of the tax benefits we typically provide," said the lawmakers led by
Democratic Reps. Joe Crowley and Nydia Velazquez, both of New York.
The request comes as Congress prepares to craft into legislation a nearly $6
trillion tax overhaul plan pushed by President Donald Trump and GOP leaders.
The plan, which Republicans view as an imperative for them to prevail in next
year's midterm elections, proposes to nearly double the standard deduction, to
$12,000 for individuals and $24,000 for families; dramatically cut taxes for
corporations and potentially for individuals; shrink the number of personal
income brackets; and simplify the tax system.
The Democratic lawmakers sent a letter Monday to Brady and Rep. Richard Neal
of Massachusetts, the top Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee. Their
spokesmen didn't have an immediate comment Monday.
The Democrats also asked the panel to provide additional funds for the new
markets tax credit to help businesses that were lost in Hurricane Maria. The
lawmakers requested the reinstatement of the tax credit for domestic
manufacturers in Puerto Rico and its expansion to be applied to the Virgin
In addition, they are seeking the permanent reinstatement of the tax system
for rum, in which the excise taxes collected on rum produced in Puerto Rico and
the Virgin Islands was paid to the U.S. government but then transferred back to
Most residents of Puerto Rico don't have to pay federal personal income tax;
they do pay into Social Security. Residents of the U.S. Virgin Islands pay
income taxes to the local government that are deemed to be close in amount to
what they would pay the federal government.