Puerto Rican libertarians call for Jones Act exemption
by Michael Hansen, Hawaii Shippers Council, May 15, 2017
The Wall Street Journal published on May 14, 2017, an opinion-editorial, “More Government Isn’t Puerto Rico’s Answer,” advocating for additional changes in federal and local regulations to improve Puerto Rico’s economy including exempting the territory from the Jones Act.
The author is Joseph W. Milligan, Executive Vice President, Fundación Libertad Puerto Rico. It’s a non-partisan public policy think tank with a libertarian viewpoint advocating for the streamlining of local government and economic development in the territory. They work with those who support various political status outcomes for Puerto Rico including statehood, commonwealth and independence.
Reform of the Jones Act’s application to Puerto Rico is a major issue for Fundacion Libertad.
We can only achieve significant growth when we come to a consensus that more government won’t be the solution.
The World Bank’s ease of doing business index scores 10 categories affecting business in any economy and ranks 190 nations according to this measure. Puerto Rico stands at 55, between Peru and Rwanda.
In the category of taxes, which measures the difficulty and expense of the tax structure, Puerto Rico stands at 135. Our top marginal corporate-tax rate is the second highest in the world and any serious effort to restore growth to our island must involve a dramatic reduction of this burden.
While most of the growth-killing policies are implemented at the local level, the federal government could help by exempting Puerto Rico from the antiquated Jones Act of 1920, which prevents the island from using the significantly cheaper services of foreign companies when shipping between the island and the U.S. mainland.
Related: Hawaii Politicians Steering a Course for Economic Decline like Bankrupt Puerto Rico