García Padilla signs Jobs Now Law
“With the signing of this law we officially launch the job-creation engine that Puerto Rico urgently needs,” the governor said during a bill-signing ceremony at La Fortaleza.
García Padilla said the new law groups a range of initiatives aimed at creating new jobs, new businesses and the substantial expansion of existing operations. He said the legislation was crafted with the input of the business, cooperative and financial sectors.
The Jobs Now Law was approved in both the Senate and House of Representatives last week. The majority Popular Democratic Party delegations voted unanimously to pass the bill, while minority New Progressive Party lawmakers voted against in both chambers. Puerto Rican Independence Party Sen. María de Lourdes Santiago also opposed the legislation.
The La Fortaleza measure underwent various amendments including wording that the legislation gives “preferential treatment to small and midsize businesses.”
The Jobs Now Law, which is aimed at jumpstarting the economy over the next two years, is the main new tool behind the García Padilla administration’s jobs push. It includes a credit of up to $2,000 for each new job created to pay energy costs, two-year leases of Puerto Rico Industrial Development Co. facilities for as little as $1, expedited permits that will be delivered in as short a time as 24 hours and wage subsidies for businesses that hire government workers laid off by the previous administration.
García Padilla rejected NPP criticism that the funding for the incentives hasn’t been identified and that the legislation won’t lead to large-scale job creation. He said the NPP fired thousands of public workers under Law 7 and that the island lost 125,000 over the four years of the previous Fortuño administration.