April 8 (Reuters) - Puerto Rico collected $6.08 billion of revenue in the first nine months of fiscal 2014, a 4.6 percent increase over the same period the year before, according to preliminary data from the island’s Treasury on Tuesday.
Revenue for the period was also $86 million higher than Puerto Rico’s own estimate, Treasury Secretary Melba Acosta Febo said in a statement.
The nearly 5 percent increase in collections occurred even though March revenue was 22 percent lower than in the same month in 2013. That was largely because the general fund received a one-time injection of $241 million in the year-earlier period, she said.
Without that bump from non-recurring revenue last year, collections from this March would actually be up 2.5 percent, Acosta Febo said.
March collections of the island’s sales and use tax were $93.5 million, their highest for the month of March since the tax was implemented in 2006 and an 8.3 percent increase over the same month the year before.
The U.S. commonwealth, which is struggling to overcome a chronic recession and a rapid population decline, sold $3.5 billion of bonds in March at a yield of nearly 9 percent after its debt was downgraded to “junk” status by credit rating agencies.
The sale spared it from default, but many who follow the Caribbean island’s financial troubles feel a debt restructuring could be in its future.
Puerto Rico’s financing arm, the Government Development Bank, has retained two restructuring experts in the past several weeks.
Reporting by Hilary Russ in New York