Nelson says GOP tax bill hurts Puerto Rico, urges colleagues to vote against it

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-FL, said this week that the Senate would be sending “another hurricane to Puerto Rico” if it passes the Republican’s tax reform bill.

“We’re going to send another hurricane to Puerto Rico if we pass this bill because of the provisions that are so punitive to Puerto Rico in this tax bill,” Nelson said on the Senate floor late Wednesday. “That’s not something we want to do to Puerto Rico. We want to help Puerto Rico.”

Nelson cited several provisions in the Senate Republican tax bill that would negatively affect the island as it struggles to recover in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

“The bill eliminates the section 199 manufacturing deduction for Puerto Rico” Nelson said. “The bill also eliminates what is called the rum cover, which is that excised taxes that are made on the production of Puerto Rican rum and U.S. Virgin Islands rum that they get a rebate for paying those excise taxes … and this bill further fails to put Puerto Rico residents on an equal footing with those on the mainland by giving them the same treatment on earned income tax credit and the child tax credit.”

“This bill is so out of balance to begin with,” Nelson told his colleagues, “but then when you get down to the specifics in so many of the items … affecting Puerto Rico, this is not what we want to do. … I urge some of our members to reconsider their vote.”