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Mon Dec 31, 2018, 01:00 AM

PROMESA Board Wants Food Stamp Work Requirement for Puerto Rico

The PROMESA oversight board has written to Puerto Rico Family Department Secretary Glorimar Andújar Matos calling for a work requirement to be tied to the Puerto Rico Nutrition Assistance Program (NAP). The certified commonwealth fiscal plan includes such a requirement.

The letter was preceded by publication of an opinion piece in the Washington Post by José Carrión and Andrew Biggs, both members of the Board. The column mentions the NAP work requirement but focuses more broadly on the problem of low labor force participation in Puerto Rico.

“Puerto Rico’s 40 percent labor force participation rate falls short not only of every mainland state and every other Caribbean island, which average in the low 60 percent range, but also of 97 percent of the more than 200 countries and territories surveyed by the World Bank,” the authors point out. “If Puerto Rico boosted labor force participation even to West Virginia’s mainland-low 54 percent, the economy would increase by nearly 11 percent, tax revenue would rise, and the 44 percent poverty rate would plummet. But if labor force participation remains low, Puerto Rico will be forever poor.”

The article goes on to say that labor requirements — Christmas bonuses, generous sick leave and vacation, and job protections — and a culture of patronage discourage employers from creating jobs. It calls for an Earned Income Tax Credit and for NAP work requirements.

Read more: https://www.puertoricoreport.com/promesa-board-wants-food-stamp-work-requirement-for-puerto-rico/#.XCmgXVVKjRY

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