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Puerto Rico cuts holidays to boost economy

July 30, 2014

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Puerto Rico’s governor has signed a law to reduce the number of holidays celebrated in the U.S territory in hopes of boosting productivity amid an economic recession.

The island will celebrate 15 holidays instead of 19, which was almost double the number celebrated on the U.S. mainland.

Many had decried the measure even though officials complained the excessive number of holidays cost the government about $500 million a year in lost productivity and service interruptions due to the closure of government offices, schools and many private businesses.

Puerto Rico is trying to emerge from a nearly decade-long economic slump.

Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla announced late Tuesday the reduction will come by consolidating four holidays commemorating Puerto Rican leaders into the island’s Day of Puerto Rican Heroes, celebrated in February.

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