May 2, 2012
From Americas Society/Council of the Americas. AS/COA Online's news brief examines the major—as well as some of the overlooked—events and stories occurring across the Americas. Check back every Wednesday for the weekly roundup.
Chile Proposes New Tax Code to Fund Education
Chilean President Sebastián Piñera introduced a bill to Congress on Monday to reform the country’s tax code. The new tax code raises corporate income tax and sales taxes, but lowers income taxes across the board. It also permits families to write off 50 percent of the cost of education on their tax returns. The reform further progressively eliminates import duties—currently at 6 percent—over the next three years. Piñera said the reforms should raise between $700 million and $1 billion a year to be used to fund education and government scholarships. CIPER Chile calls the government’s reform “regressive,” saying a tax cut for the rich while raising sales taxes for everyone is “unjust.”
Bolivia Nationalizes Electrical Grid
On May 1, President Evo Morales announced that Bolivia would take over the country’s electrical grid Transportadora de Electricidad, currently operated by Spanish company Red Electrica Corps. Morales ascribed the move to underinvestment in the sector and a need for government control of electricity.
Brazilian Supreme Court Rules Racial Quotas are Legal
The Brazilian Supreme Court ruled unanimously last week that racial quotas for university admissions are constitutional. The justices said such measures were necessary in order to guarantee the advancement of Afro-Brazilians and correct past injustices against black citizens. However, two judges expressed reservations, urging the court to consider more specific criteria than race such as socio-economic status. “No one has the power to say who is white and who is black in a highly mixed society,” one justice said.