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Rick Scott pledges to fix ‘unfair’ taxes for Puerto Rico

With the flood of Puerto Rico migrants to Florida and an effort by that commonwealth’s governor to organize them to support the island, Florida Gov. Rick Scott pledged in Orlando Thursday that if elected to the U.S. Senate he’d seek to change ‘unfair’ tax measures for the island.

“I’m for reduced taxes, but we’ve got to be fair,” Scott said.

The statement is in part a criticism of details of the recently approved federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that President Donald Trump pushed through Congress in December, and which Scott supported then and said he still supports. “I’m glad they passed the tax reductions,” he said.

That law, though, includes tax measures that hit Puerto Rico hard, notably with a 12.5 percent intellectual properties excise tax on profits derived from patents and trademarks held by Puerto Rican companies, seen as a sharp blow particularly to the fledgling health and pharmaceutical industry that has been blooming there.

Scott’s opponent, Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, already was a strong critic of the intellectual property tax, and of another measure that denied Puerto Rico island residents from being able to use a new $2,000 child tax credit. Nelson called the tax bill “a knife in the neck” of Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló has been an angry critic of that and other measures in the bill and earlier this week he came to Orlando to announce his support for a private effort to organize Puerto Rico migrants stateside to register and vote for federal candidates in Florida and elsewhere that supported the Puerto Rico tax measures.

Scott, who just returned from a trip to Puerto Rico while Rossello was in Florida, said he has spoken with the Puerto Rican governor about the tax.

“We shouldn’t be tasking things between states or territories, then they get more difficult for one part of the country to do better than the other one,” Scott said.

At a campaign stop in Orlando, Scott was specifically asked if he would seek to change those measures if he were elected.

“Oh yeah,” he said.


Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at

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