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Puerto Rico tentatively approves $9.8B budget

June 22, 2013

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives has approved a $9.8 billion operating budget that relies on new taxes and seeks to boost the U.S. territory’s education and public retirement systems.

Legislators approved the budget early Saturday after a nine-hour debate.

The proposed budget is $688 million larger than the current one, and $65 million smaller than the one proposed by the governor. The budget also relies on $45 million in debt financing and an estimated $1.38 billion in revenue from new taxes, which would mostly target large corporations. Critics have said those taxes would lead to more layoffs on an island emerging from a six-year recession and struggling with $69 billion in public debt.

The island’s Senate will now debate the proposed budget, which has to be approved before July 1.

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