Puerto Rico government looks to raise tax on oil

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Puerto Rico government officials are looking to a 68 percent increase in an oil tax to help sell up to $2.9 billion in bonds and strengthen one of the island's largest public corporations amid bankruptcy concerns.

Officials said Thursday that the move also would help boost cash reserves at the Government Development Bank and allow for refinancing at least $1 billion in loans made to Puerto Rico's Highway and Transportation Authority.

Legislators filed a bill calling for raising the excise tax on a barrel of crude oil from $9.25 to $15.50, to generate $178 million a year. The measure also would allow the loan to be transferred to Puerto Rico's Infrastructure Financing Authority.

Bank treasurer Richard Barrios said the government would access the market by March 31.