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"I'm going to sign it because it's a programmatic commitment," said Ricardo Rosselló. (GFR Media)
"I'm going to sign it because it's a programmatic commitment," said Ricardo Rosselló. (GFR Media)

Governor Ricardo Rosselló Nevares will sign the tax reform bill into law, although there is still no certainty that the Oversight Board will endorse the legislative piece due to the inclusion of amendments that would legalize slot machines outside casinos.

"I'm going to sign it because it's a programmatic commitment," Rosselló Nevares said at a press conference in La Fortaleza.

Rosselló said that, if the Board does not endorse the bill, "those who make decisions in the government" must then focus on working on an initiative that can be approved by the body created by U.S. Congress.

The governor stressed that all the basic elements of the tax reform bill have the endorsement of La Fortaleza, the Legislature and the Board.

Credit for work, reduction of tax on prepared foods and transactions between businesses (B2B) as well as reductions on income tax for corporations and individuals are among those “pillars”.

These reductions in income taxes will not apply in the same way for those who are self-employed and small and medium businesses.

He indicated that the only element that causes doubts is that regarding the impact that the legalization of the slot machines outside casinos would in the collections of the central government and public corporations. Specifically, the Board has requested studies that certify that the legalization of these machines will not cannibalize the government's collections.

"If there is an objection to the slot machines issue, I am sure that we who make decisions will sit at the table and, without rejecting other considerations, the issue (slot machines) can be considered at another time, so we can focus on the benefits (of the tax reform) now," said the governor.

"If there is no objection to the slot machines, we will have a quick positive effect on the economy," he added.

The governor's expressions took place at a press conference in which he announced an agreement between the University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus and the Forensic Sciences Bureau so that students who specialize in the area of pathology can do their internships in the facilities of the Department of Public Safety.

Héctor Pesquera, Secretary of Public Safety,  explained that, with this agreement, some 11 residents will be able to do 240 autopsies per year. This will help alleviate the burden on the other pathologists of the agency who will be in charge of the procedures required for criminal investigations.

Annually, the Bureau conducts more than 6,000 autopsies. Many of these procedures are not associated with crimes and are carried out as part of protocols to determine causes of deaths unknown by doctors.