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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Puerto Rico News Digest For May 26, 2015


From Bloomberg:

Puerto Rico’s Senate approved a bill, with amendments, that increases
the cash-strapped island’s sales tax, potentially raising revenue that will
help balance the fiscal 2016 budget.The Senate passed the measure Mon-
day in a 14-12 vote, with an amendment to exempt certain processed foods.
The amended bill now goes back to the House of Representatives, which
narrowly approved the sales-tax hike last week. Governor Alejandro Gar-
cia Padilla and lawmakers from his ruling Popular Democratic Party agreed
on a framework for the tax boost May 14. The bill would raise the levy to
11.5 percent from 7 percent through March, after which it would transition
into a value-added tax.


From The San Juan Daily Star:

The island government intends to cut over $55 million from non-profit
organizations, social programs and college scholarships as part of the
$674 million in cuts in the new budget. The cuts will affect more than
120 public and non-profit organizations and programs in Puerto Rico as
government allocations will be  reduced to about $75 million from about
$130 million. La Fortaleza Chief of Staff Víctor Suárez said many agen-
cies may engage the services of some of these entities.


From Caribbean Business:

The Puerto Rico Comic Con (PRCC), touted as the premier entertain-
ment and pop culture event in the Caribbean, filled the Puerto Rico
Convention Center during its latest edition held this past weekend,
along the way generating about $4 million in economic activity, acc-
ording to estimates. Ricardo Carrión, executive producer of the PRCC,
told local media outlets that at least 38,000 people attended the event
this year, which took place May 22-24. The annual event has steadily
drawn larger crowds since its inception in 2002. Part of the larger atten-
dance numbers stemmed from the organizers’ decision to extend the
event to three days, starting Friday; previous editions were held only
Saturday and Sunday. Carrión added that, on Friday alone, the event
drew in about 9,000 people.


From News Is My Business:

In the United States, electricity costs 10¢ to 12¢ per kilowatt-hour
(kwh), while in Costa Rica, it’s 15¢ per kwh and higher in Honduras
and Nicaragua, Central America’s poorest countries. Yet a top State
Department official said the region is now in an ideal position to cut
costs by introducing alternative sources like natural gas and renewable
energy. “Things that five years ago were not even possible are availa-
ble today. Some methods of transporting containerized natural gas ha-
ve come down in cost considerably,” said Robin Dunnigan, deputy
U.S. assistant secretary for energy diplomacy. Dunnigan was one of
four officials who spoke at a May 7 conference hosted by Washing-
ton’s Inter-American Dialogue. Nearly 150 people attended the pa-
nel, “Ener-gy in Central America and the Caribbean,” including di-
plomats from 13 Washington-based embassies.


Carraizo is on the far left, in yellow. No significant rain is expected
over the area for several days.

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