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by Marshall Kirby, Public Policy Analyst

President Obama laid the foundation of the general goals of his Administration for the coming months ahead.  Imploring a divided Congress to act in favor of enhancing America’s physical infrastructure through roads, railways, redesigning our ports and airports, making a more efficient energy grid, expanding research on green and alternative energy, and expanding access to broadband.  Encompassing all of these, President Obama argued that America’s economy will be stronger, produce better paying jobs, and be more competitive.

Public investment is not a new idea, and since the New Deal under FDR, politicians have been pushing agendas which encompass education, infrastructure, and technology.  In the 1990’s President Clinton had his own policy agenda which encompassed an investment in technology and research science after the breakthrough of technology like the PC and the internet.  Since Clinton, conservatives have been very skeptical of public investment in these areas, and President Bush pushed for investment in education through No Child Left Behind.  Even recently, President Obama, in advocating for the Recovery Act, stressed the importance of construction and infrastructure projects.  His idea hit strong Republican opposition, and infrastructure became a watered down portion of the stimulus.  Instead of pushing for the most crucial projects, the Administration looked to “shovel ready” ones which would put the hard hit construction sector back to work. Read the rest of this entry »

by Marshall Kirby, Public Policy Analyst

For the first time since 2008, Puerto Rico will begin a general obligation bond sale.  The exact figures are not yet disclosed, but the President of the Government Development Bank, Carlos Garcia, has announced that the sale of bonds will be to finance infrastructure and significant public projects.  He estimates that there will up to $2.1 billion in other bond sales this year (Plans General-Obligation Sale).  Portions of the bond sale will include financing projects for capital improvements in the electrical and natural gas sectors (the other portion of the project’s financing will be discussed later).

This is a significant step for the Commonwealth, as it could mark a clear financial and credit turn around from impending disaster.  The island currently has a bond rating which is lower than any state in the US (Plans General-Obligation Sale).  For years, the island has been mired in financial and credit issues which have led to trouble financing needed projects/programs and meeting its continuing expenditures. Read the rest of this entry »

By: Israel Ortega, Editor

Also, see similar articles here, here, and here, and read tomorrow for a follow up analysis by Marshall Kirby.

As our country weathers one of the worst economic recessions in its history, the tax debate in Congress continues. The outcome of these negotiations will have huge consequences for the coming year. To see why this debate is so important, we need only look to Puerto Rico to appreciate the effects of both good and bad tax policy.

Led by Gov. Luis Fortuno, Puerto Rico has been undertaking bold and courageous efforts to implement an aggressive economic model. Despite facing harsh critics, it has met with considerable successes. Washington, D.C. lawmakers should take note.

The island of Puerto Rico is small. But Puerto Ricans have made indelible contributions to our great country.

But just a couple of years ago, the Island of Enchantment was at the brink of economic collapse. As The Wall Street Journal’s Mary O’Grady reported, “Puerto Rico had a 46% budget shortfall and was close to being downgraded to junk status.” The main culprit was an exceedingly high corporate tax rate that was scaring off potential investors. Additionally, the governor’s office in San Juan had been responsible for unchecked runaway spending, leaving in its wake a budget shortfall equal to $3.3 billion.

Sound familiar? If it does, that’s because there are eerie parallels between Puerto Rico’s failed economic policies and what some here in Washington are proposing to get our economy back on track. Read the rest of this entry »

A Call to Service

A few minutes ago we posted an article discussing the lack of leadership amongst Latinos in this country.  Well, there are certainly leaders among us; we are by no means distinct in that our culture is devoid of leadership potential.  But, for some reason we have had a difficult time bringing our leaders to the forefront.  Perhaps they have been trumped by leaders from other cultures, perhaps they have been held back due to socio-economic or other factors, or perhaps, and this is the big one, we ourselves are so rarely united that even natural leaders find it difficult to bring us together.

In a very short period of time, Latinos have become the largest minority in this country.  We are in fact, set to become the majority in the very near future.  With this prevalence comes responsibility.  In order to ensure our beliefs and cultural ties are represented in our governments, we need to develop leaders, and unite behind them.  I for one believe it will eventually come naturally, as real leaders will surface regardless of circumstance, however, if we can offer additional opportunities for leadership that will, in turn, provide experience and confidence, then we can aid in their development.   Read the rest of this entry »

Over the past year, The National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce has grown beyond our original plans, as well as developed a role outside of its original intended scope.  Our membership has grown to include representation from the Bronx, NY to Issaquah, WA (I know, I hadn’t heard of it either) to nearly every metropolitan area within the U.S. and, of course, Puerto Rico.  However, much to our surprise, our membership also now includes countries as far away as Korea and Australia, and original hometowns from a dozen Latin American and Spanish-Speaking countries.

Despite our differences, perhaps the binding quality that we all share is that we are aware of the uniquely American belief that with a simple idea and a strong work ethic, we all have the opportunity for success in life.  This drive to innovate, to develop an idea, to bring it to fruition, and to take a leap of faith in order to have the opportunity to even touch the heels of success is what drove all of our ancestors, whether our parents or our parents’ parents’ parents, to come to this land of opportunity. Read the rest of this entry »

por Gwendolyn Gonzalez

Hoy más que nunca entiendo quien eres
Eres aquella que me brindo identidad y un hogar
La que sintió con cosquilla
mis primeros pasos sobre su piel
La que me brindo calor y frio
durante noches y amanecer
Hoy más que nunca entiendo quien eres
Aquella que nunca pregunto porqué
Porque tantos abusos, coraje, dolor y llanto manifesté
Fuiste la que nunca me abandono
y siempre demostró fe
No sé porque nunca te dije lo mucho que te ame
Pero ahora veo tu gran gloria
Aquella que has logrado conservar
Aunque muchos dolores te he hecho pasar
Hoy más que nunca además de entender
Aprecio, valoro y añoro todo lo que me has brindado
Y los que has de ofrecer


As posted by the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council:

Yesterday, the House GOP leadership released their “Pledge to America,” which included various proposals focused on helping small business owners and entrepreneurs.  Read SBE Council President & CEO Karen Kerrigan’s statement on the Pledge by clicking here.

Specifically, the pledge would stop tax increases on all taxpayers (when the Bush tax cuts expire at the end of this year) and provide small business owners with another significant tax deduction to free up additional resources for investment and hiring.  The Pledge also repeals the new health care law, and replaces it with reforms that have long been sought by the small business community.  On the regulatory front, the Pledge makes members of Congress accountable for the laws they Read the rest of this entry »

August 30, 2010, Washington, D.C. – Amidst seemingly endless negative news from the economic sector, Puerto Rico recently developed a project named “Via Verde,” which aims to provide a much-needed boost to the Puerto Rican economy. The National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce supports the project, whose goal is to construct a natural gas pipeline to distribute an alternative form of energy production throughout the island, as a means to spur economic development.

Although some costs of living in Puerto Rico, such as housing and land costs, are lower than on the U.S. mainland, energy costs have risen to almost double the average U.S. household costs. One of the Governor’s and other legislators’ most important objectives has been to lower those costs and bring much-needed relief to a population who already has an average income lower than any U.S. state. Read the rest of this entry »

Entrepreneurship is one of the best ways to create jobs and wealth. The author of the linked article below, and those quoted within the article, agree with this philosophy.

We have chosen to highlight the following section as it encompasses our philosophy on entrepreneurial education and economic enhancement:

Michael D. Woodard, president and CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm Woodard and Associates and the author of Black Entrepreneurs in America: Stories of Struggle and Success, believes [historically black colleges and universities] would be remiss if they do not provide a curriculum on entrepreneurship.

“The most effective way for one generation to transfer wealth to the next generation is to engage in entrepreneurial activities,” Woodard says.

“Entrepreneurship is one way of providing jobs in the African-American community,” adds Woodard, noting that many minority-owned businesses have staffs that are over 50 percent non-White. Read the rest of this entry »

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