On Thursday, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., brought back his proposal to help get Puerto Rico’s economy back in the right direction.
After winning a second term in the U.S. Senate in November , from his perch on the Congressional Task Force on Economic Growth in Puerto Rico, Rubio introduced the “Economic Mobility for Productive Livelihoods and Expanding Opportunity (EMPLEO) Act” last month.
Rubio’s proposal would lower the employer covered minimum wage to $5 an hour, cutting expenses for businesses, while relying on a federal wage subsidy of up to $2.50 an hour for employees who make less than $10 an hour.
The “EMPLEO Act would establish an opt-in system by which participating employers disburse pay raises to all employees earning below the median hourly wage in Puerto Rico,” Rubio’s office noted in December when the Florida Republican brought out the legislation. “Any worker earning less than $10 per hour would receive a raise, up to a maximum of $2.50 per hour. Employers that choose to participate in the program may reduce their share of a worker’s wage to a minimum of $5 per hour, thus reducing the cost of hiring new workers.”
Rubio and other advocates of his proposal have said that the federal minimum wage is a hindrance in Puerto Rico
“With Puerto Rico’s economy suffering from high unemployment and low wages, it’s hard for many Americans on the island to make ends meet,” Rubio said last month. “My legislation would help these workers and their families by immediately boosting their pay and reducing the cost of hiring so it’s easier to find a job. By expanding the workforce, increasing opportunity and making work pay more, we can help Puerto Rico get back on the path to growth and prosperity. As a member of the Congressional Task Force on Economic Growth in Puerto Rico, I’m proud to have brought this idea to the table and encourage my colleagues to consider it as we prepare our final report.”
On Thursday, Rubio’s team showcased support for the proposal from a number of conservative think tanks and business groups. This included Oren Cass’ article published at City Journal’s site last month and backing from the American Enterprise Institute and the Ethics and Public Policy Center. The National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce also backs Rubio’s legislation.
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