Puerto Rico senators override veto, halt tax increase

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Puerto Rico’s governor has lost a battle to increase a business-to-business tax and impose a transition to a value-added tax system amid an economic crisis.

Senators on Thursday gathered enough votes to approve a bill previously vetoed by Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla, who warned their actions would push the U.S. territory into deeper financial trouble. The bill prevents an increase of the business-to-business tax from 4 per cent to 10.5 per cent from going into effect next week.

Garcia said that legislators who overrode his veto acted irresponsibly and that they did not identify any new sources of badly needed revenue.

Puerto Rico is floundering amid 10 years of economic stagnation and faces a $70 billion public debt load that Garcia has said is unpayable and needs restructuring.