Puerto Rico legislators to debate oil tax increase

AP News
Posted: Nov 21, 2014 5:33 PM

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Puerto Rico's governor has called a special legislative session to debate a measure that would boost an oil tax by 68 percent.

Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla issued an executive order Friday saying legislators will meet Monday.

The measure aims to help sell up to $2.9 billion in bonds and strengthen the debt-ridden Highway and Transportation Authority.

If approved, the U.S. territory's excise tax on a barrel of crude oil would increase from $9.25 to $15.50 and generate $178 million a year.

Supporters have said the increase would not affect the price of electricity on an island where power bills on average are more than twice those on the U.S. mainland.

The measure comes as the island struggles with $73 billion in public debt amid concerns public agencies might declare bankruptcy.