An island that was once the happiest place to live is facing a gloomy economic future, Puerto Rico. With more and more local professionals moving to the U.S. mainland, the country is experiencing what many describe as an “exodus.”
A financial crisis in Puerto Rico has left the island drowning in $70 billion in debt, and the local government recently had to hold a bond sale to help stem their fiscal crisis. As a consequence of the economic instability and high unemployment, work is drying up for Puerto Rican companies, forcing employees to re-locate.
Many residents, such as Jorge Duany say they’re leaving because they are unable to take care of all their debts. “The cost of living is extremely high. Over the last ten years or so, I think it’s been the rise in unemployment, poverty and lack of economic opportunities.”
Roughly 80,000 Puerto Ricans have fled the island in the last two years. Locals of the island are asking for a redo of the 936 code, a tax incentive that the Puerto Rican government used to offer to attract companies to establish their operations on the island. In 1996, the US federal government cancelled the program. Critics of the U.S. government are blaming Congress for the crisis. In 2006, it removed federal tax credits for companies who made profits in Puerto Rico, which caused many Puerto Rican based companies to flee tax havens such as the Cayman Islands and the Netherlands.
Our CCTV Correspondent, Nitza Soledad Perez tells us more on the story visits Puerto Rico and investigates this growing dilemma from a variety of perspectives, including a restaurant owner, college professor and government politicians.