Solís submits bill on tourism sales tax

Just as he said he would, President Luis Guillermo Solís has designated for action a bill that would relieve some tourist operators of five years of back sales taxes.

This is the tax that they did not know they owed until a decree was published amplifying the meaning of the sales tax law. That was in the last week of the Laura Chinchilla administration.

The measure is No. 19.408, and the effort to collect the taxes revolves around the phrase centros de recreo y similares. The administration is defining centers of recreation and similar as any operation that has an office. The tourism sector has been up in arms about this. The bill defers the sales tax until Jan. 1, 2016.

Monday begins what is known as the extraordinary session of the legislature. Years ago this established a loophole so that the president could recall vacationing lawmakers for a specific purpose in an emergency, such as declaring war.

Now this is a period when the executive branch controls the agenda. Lawmakers may only act on what the president puts before them.

Solís issued a decree listing many bills. They include budget bills, one that provides mutual protection for Costa Rican and Chinese investors, and one to regulate pawn shops.

Another would authorize an agreement for widening Ruta 32 for 100 kilometers from Limón west.

Another bill promotes the development of an electric train in the Central Valley.

There are bills to protect the disabled and one to transform the Dirección de Inteligencia y Seguridad Nacional to the Dirección de Intelligencia Estrategica Nacional. This is the private investigative unit of Casa Presidencial.

The in vitro fertilization bill is here. too. Another measure makes unspecified changes to a law that penalized violence against women.

There also are some anti-corruption measures.

Much of the wish list will not be passed in this legislative session, but the submissions show the mood of the executive branch. The text of some of the bills are not available yet, and others are versions of bills that already have been in the legislature.

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