New bill would make tax-free status more uniform

A proposed law now in the legislature would make fundamental changes to the way Costa Rica provides exoneration from taxes for certain activities and agencies.

The measure would eliminate 138 laws and 60 articles of other laws. The measure continues special treatment to alternative energies and transportation.

Many of the laws that would be voided are specific to one municipality, agency or entity. The new draft exonerates these in general terms.

The proposed law continues to exonerate from import taxes vehicles used as taxis up to 60 percent of their value. Vehicles used for the handicapped are free of 100 percent of taxes, as are bicycles. Tourism microbuses also are exonerated.

The draft also eliminated the import duties and sales taxes for equipment used to create alternative energy from the wind and sun.

Also exonerated are non-profit foundations that are dedicated to the collection and treatment of trash, to conservation of natural carry drugs. The smuggling is aided by the unprotected natures of the U.S. border in some places. Immigrants also have been known to die of thirst and exposure while trekking through the U.S. southern desert.

Sending young men and women to the United States is a tradition in some Costa Rican communities. Parents mortgage their homes to provide the funds for coyotes to assist the children. The hope is that the children will earn enough in U.S. jobs to cover the costs.

México has become highly dangerous for immigrants headed to the United States. Some Costa Ricans have sought alternative routes. A Tico couple and a companion died last month in the waters off the Bahamas when their boat sunk.

Still, the Mexican route remains popular. Costa Rican police detained 12 Cubans on two public buses in the southern part of the country this week. They, too, were headed north.

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