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.