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Puerto Rico Makes Progress on Fiscal Crisis


Puerto Rico's Senate has moved closer to resolving a fiscal crisis that has closed many government services since Monday.

The Senate passed legislation Thursday to impose a 5.9 percent sales tax and a new levy on large corporations to bridge a funding gap. The House of Representatives, which will meet later today, must now review the plan.

Schools and other non-essential services in the U.S. territory have been under a government-imposed shutdown for four days, leaving over 90,000 workers jobless. About 500,000 students have been unable to attend classes two weeks before the end of the school year.

The Senate earlier rejected a proposal by the island's governor, Anibal Acevedo, for a seven percent sales tax to obtain a loan to pay government salaries for the remainder of the fiscal year.

House President Jose Aponte has said any sales tax must be approved as separate tax reform legislation and not as part of the loan repayment package.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.