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Legislators across the country now have their eyes on a little-known experiment on the island of Puerto Rico this week.  At the beginning of the previous week, two major events occurred which could have national implications, and will, one way or another, prove to be an example to the rest of the country.

First, in a quick strike over the slow news cycle weekend, the legislature and the governor passed a law increasing taxes on 40-50 of the top manufacturing companies on the island.  The expected return is now suggested to be $5.8 billion over the next 6 years.  However, the concern becomes whether the negative effects of these tax increases will outweigh the positive return.  History has proven that organizations will make adjustments based on tax policy: sometimes companies reduce their payroll, sometimes they reduce their operations or overhead, and sometimes they move their operations elsewhere to take advantage of more favorable tax environments.  The question is not whether they will react, but how they will react.

On the following Monday, strategically timed to counteract the negative repercussions of the tax increase, a law was passed having the exact opposite effect for most of the rest of the island.  As the Puerto Rican Federal Affairs Administration states on their website: Read the rest of this entry »

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You read correctly.  In reaction to record budget shortfalls on the island, the Puerto Rican legislature passed a bill raising taxes on some of the largest companies within its borders.  Then on Monday, the governor announced plans to reduce taxes on businesses and personal incomes, in an effort to jumpstart the economy.

We will provide an analysis in the coming days, but in the meantime you can read more in the following articles submitted through Reuters, respectively titled “Puerto Rico slaps new tax on offshore business” and “Puerto Rico unveils tax cuts to reignite economy.”  Read the rest of this entry »

In a recent report by the U.S. GAO (Government Accountability Office), the U.S. is highlighted as having exceeded or equaled the best broadband resources in the world.  Amongst the 33 OECD countries, most of which are considered the most prosperous and economically free in the world, the U.S. excelled in most of the categories.  A statement by the SBE Council summarizes the results:

To sum up, the broadband story in the U.S. is impressive. Despite being one of the largest nations, with its population spread widely, U.S. broadband is comprehensively deployed; broadband speeds are above the average for developed nations (with some U.S. cities having the world’s fastest); and broadband subscribers are the most in the world, with above average subscribers per 100 households.

That’s a tribute to investments and innovations made by the nation’s broadband providers. It is, of course, critical that policymakers keep these impressive feats in mind when considering regulations and taxes in the broadband arena. A pro-competition, light regulatory touch policy regime clearly makes the most sense.[1]

Puerto Rico’s Contribution

Although Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, and Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, broadband investment and implementation on the island is dismal.  The MMTC (Minority Media and Telecommunications Council) pointed this out in a notice submitted ex parte to FCC commissioners on September 12th.[2]

Within the letter, MMTC lauds the Commission’s recent report on broadband deployment,[3] then commences to upbraid its oversight of the 4 million Hispanic U.S. citizens living in Puerto Rico. Read the rest of this entry »

Recently, we discussed the Census data that suggests Hispanic enterprises are growing more rapidly than non-minority businesses.  Although we laud the fact that the number of Hispanic and other minority-owned businesses have increased, a closer look at the Census numbers might reveal a lesser achievement.

As the author of the following article states in his conclusion:

When reports like this one are released, how the results are framed affects the response people have to them. By presenting the results as indicating that Black and women-owned businesses grew faster than White and men-owned ones, the Census Bureau gave the impression that these businesses are doing well and [there are] no problems that require policy makers’ attention.

However, although the numbers on the face might reveal the opposite, the truth is minority-owned businesses need even more attention in order to ensure their success (a goal of The National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce). 

The following article was posted at smallbiztrends.com: Read the rest of this entry »

As posted at SBECouncil.org:

Most members of Congress exclaim to support small business owners and entrepreneurs through their work on Capitol Hill.  However, when it comes to how U.S. Senators and Representatives actually vote on legislation that impacts the profitability and survivability of small firms, their actions sometimes don’t match up to all the talk.

SBE Council released its Small Business Scorecard for the 111th Congress this week to get beyond the “talk” and posturing. The scorecard can be found on the SBE Council website.  A handy scorecard “quick finder” is also available – a map of the U.S. that allows you to click on your state to see how your U.S. House and Senate Members cumulatively scored on small business KEY VOTES. Read the rest of this entry »

In an article today, John Eggerton, of Broadcasting & Cable, reiterated Puerto Rico’s call for an FCC reversal on their decision to delay assisting the island in its Broadband implementation.  Given that the lack of access to minimal IT infrastructure severely limits a society’s ability to compete on any economic level, Puerto Rico should be considered a high priority for increasing broadband access. 

Puerto Rican Officials ask FCC for Broadband Help: Say dealing with issue as part of USF reform will take too long

The governor of Puerto Rico and other officials there have asked the FCC to reverse a decision they say will leave the territory without sufficient access to broadband for too long.

While Governor Luis Fortuno said he understood the FCC had said it preferred dealing with the issue as part of general overall Universal Service Fund reform, he said that would be a multi-year process and that Puerto Rico has already waited too long to get comparable service to the U.S.

He asked that the FCC reconsider the request of the Puerto Rico Telephone Company (PRTC) for a separate fund and its promise to use it for broadband. He also wants the FCC to create a Puerto Rico broadband pilot program and consider designating staff to deal specifically with Puerto Rico broadband issues. Read the rest of this entry »

Fox News picked the perfect moment to launch their new site, Fox News Latino, today.  Amidst the rescue of Chilean miners, a phenomenon that has caught worldwide attention, Fox has once again demonstrated their entrepreneurial prowess by launching a website that caters to English-speaking Latinos. 

Contrary to the philosophy behind the new government healthcare website, www.cuidadodesalud.gov, which caters to an all Spanish-speaking website, Fox has decided to capitalize on the population of Hispanics that are either native English-speakers or are bilingual. 

“Many bilingual Spanish-speakers, and even many native English-speaking Latinos, have found it insulting and perhaps even ignorant when people assume that Latinos want all their information in Spanish, or are unwilling to buy products unless their advertising is in Spanish.  Frankly, there are actually more native English-speaking Latinos in the U.S., but they want to keep in touch with their roots too,” says Carlos Gutierrez, a self-proclaimed activist and resident of the Bronx. Read the rest of this entry »

During a press conference yesterday, the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL) released its report entitled  Expanding Opportunities in the Hispanic Community:  Solutions for Increased Broadband Access.

The report describes the NHCSL vision of “full digital inclusion for all Americans . . . where Hispanics continue to lag in meaningful broadband adoption that can only be realized by fully digitally literate communities.  Broadband and information technology are drivers for job creation, educational reform, healthcare delivery, greater competitiveness for small businesses, and increased access to government services.”

We at The National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce support the majority of the recommendations listed within the report, especially those with respect to increased wire line and wireless broadband technologies Read the rest of this entry »

Tomorrow at 1pm, The National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce will be attending a press conference commending the release of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators’ whitepaper entitled:

Broadband Opportunities and the Hispanic Community: Solutions for Expanding Broadband Access

As described by the Immigrants in USA Blog:

The policy paper is a product of NHCSL’s Broadband En Acción taskforce, which is composed of Hispanic State Legislators from across the country. The paper offers a proposed broadband regulatory framework and calls for policies that promote investment, access and digital training among the Latino community who, despite being large users of mobile technology, continue to lag behind other Americans in adopting wireline broadband and in building digital literacy skills.

In the coming days we will analyze their assessment and continue our conversation on Broadband’s potential impact for Puerto Rico and the American Entrepreneur.

By Carol Tice
If you’ve been feeling that our country isn’t as hot a place for entrepreneurs as it once was, it’s not your imagination. A new study from the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy shows the U.S. has sunk to third place when it comes to fostering entrepreneurial creativity. Researchers for the SBA took a look at the Global Entrepreneurship and Development Index, which looks at more than a dozen primary attributes for supporting entrepreneurial effort. The upshot: The U.S. now ranks third behind Denmark and — brace yourself! — Canada.

Where are we going wrong? The study found America strong in competitiveness, startup skills, and new technology, but we fall short in cultural support for entrepreneurs Read the rest of this entry »

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