Florida Senate - 2016 SM 798 By Senator Soto 14-00889C-16 2016798__ 1 Senate Memorial 2 A memorial to the Congress of the United States, 3 urging Congress to enact legislation to promote 4 economic recovery in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. 5 6 WHEREAS, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the State of 7 Florida share a strong cultural bond and are important trade 8 partners, and 9 WHEREAS, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico has experienced a 10 prolonged and difficult economic recession that has led to mass 11 unemployment in Puerto Rico and decreased trade opportunities 12 with the State of Florida, and 13 WHEREAS, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico has public debts 14 in excess of $72 billion, which continue to cripple Puerto 15 Rico’s ability to improve and sustain economic growth, and 16 WHEREAS, the 1984 amendments to the United States 17 Bankruptcy Code prohibit the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico from 18 authorizing its municipalities and public utilities to file for 19 bankruptcy relief under Chapter 9 of the code, and 20 WHEREAS, the United States Bankruptcy Code amendments 21 require Puerto Rico’s municipalities and public utilities to 22 engage in piecemeal negotiations with each of their creditors, 23 rather than consolidating debt and developing a comprehensive 24 plan for repayment, and 25 WHEREAS, the citizens of Puerto Rico are suffering greatly 26 due to their government’s inability to renegotiate the terms of 27 this debt under a comprehensive plan, and 28 WHEREAS, the United States Government has an obligation to 29 promote and assist the economic prosperity of the Commonwealth 30 of Puerto Rico as an important territory of our nation, and 31 WHEREAS, the United States Centers for Medicare & Medicaid 32 Services will be implementing an 11-percent cut to Puerto Rico’s 33 Medicare Advantage program reimbursements for 2016, further 34 contributing to economic recession in Puerto Rico, and 35 WHEREAS, the United States Congress eliminated a tax 36 exemption for manufacturers from Section 936 of the Internal 37 Revenue Code, greatly contributing to an increase in 38 unemployment in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and 39 WHEREAS, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico would greatly 40 benefit from new ideas and programs that promote economic 41 development to bring high paying jobs back to Puerto Rico, and 42 WHEREAS, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the State of 43 Florida would both benefit from Puerto Rico’s renewed economic 44 prosperity, NOW, THEREFORE, 45 46 Be It Resolved by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 47 48 That the Congress of the United States is urged to enact 49 legislation to promote economic recovery in the Commonwealth of 50 Puerto Rico, including: 51 (1) Allowing the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to authorize 52 its municipalities and public utilities to file for bankruptcy 53 relief under Chapter 9 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. 54 (2) Allowing the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to propose a 55 comprehensive plan to pay municipal and public utility debts 56 under Chapter 9 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. 57 (3) Discontinuing the proposed 11-percent reduction in 58 Puerto Rico’s Medicare Advantage program. 59 (4) Establishing programs to encourage economic development 60 to promote increased manufacturing, trade, and employment in 61 Puerto Rico. 62 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that copies of this memorial be 63 dispatched to the President of the United States, to the 64 President of the United States Senate, to the Speaker of the 65 United States House of Representatives, and to each member of 66 the Florida delegation to the United States Congress.