NEW YORK Feb 10 Puerto Rico took in revenue of
$664 million last month, $1 million less than in January 2013,
while sales tax collection hit a record high, preliminary data
from the island's Treasury showed on Monday.
The U.S. commonwealth, which had its credit rating cut to
junk-bond status last week by Standard & Poor's and Moody's, has
some $70 billion of tax-free debt outstanding and is struggling
to overcome a chronic recession and a fast declining population.
The Treasury said in a statement that through January it had
collected $4.6 billion in revenue since the current fiscal year
began in July, a 13 percent jump over the same period last year.
Revenue from its sales and use tax swelled to $129.9 million
last month, the highest level for any month since the tax was
implemented in November, 2006.
January collections were used to complete a $643.7 million
payment for so-called COFINA bonds, which are backed by tax
revenues. Unlike Puerto Rico's general obligation debt, the
COFINA bonds still carry investment grade ratings.
"We continue to see the positive results of new tax
legislation and administrative efforts as we implement our
fiscal and economic development plans and work toward a balanced
budget," said Melba Acosta Febo, the island's Treasury
The government has said it aims to balance the budget for
fiscal year 2015. After the S&P downgrade last week, Governor
Alejandro Garcia Padilla said he would cut the current fiscal
year deficit by $170 million.