President seeks goodwill from private businesses

President Laura Chinchilla met with the nation’s business chamber Tuesday in an effort to improve relations with the private sector.

Private business people have been hit with a new corporation tax and a new decree that puts a 13 percent sales tax on some food products. For many months business plans were in limbo as the president unsuccessfully tried to get her massive tax plan enacted into law. The plan would have taken $500 million more from the public.

Casa Presidencial said that Ms. Chinchilla told the group that economic growth will be a fundamental pillar of the government for the next two years.

She stressed her administration’s achievements in improving regulations and in reducing excessive governmental paperwork.

She also noted that the government has plans to invest $640 million in infrastructure.

For its part, the business people, represented by the Unión Costarricense de Cámaras y Asociaciones del Sector Empresarial Privado, said it wanted to see concrete actions and follow through.

The session was downtown at the Hotel Aurola Holiday Inn. Among other concerns is that the business people wanted some assurances that public policies would provide security for long-term investments.

As part of the Chinchilla administration tax plan, the president wanted to open the free trade zones to municipal taxes and to take a bite out of profits being returned to foreign headquarters over and above income tax.

The chamber also supported a new electrical generating bill that would reduce power costs.

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