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Home > Investor Resources > Public Debt

Public Debt

Reports
Public Debt Report - December 2010
Public Debt Report - May 3, 2010 (only in Spanish)

Public sector debt comprises bonds and notes of the Commonwealth, its municipalities, and public corporations (“notes” as used in this section refers to certain types of non-bonded debt regardless of maturity), subject to the exclusions described below. Section 2 of Article VI of the Constitution of the Commonwealth provides that direct obligations of the Commonwealth evidenced by full faith and credit bonds or notes may not be issued if the amount of the principal of and interest on such bonds and notes and on all such bonds and notes theretofore issued which is payable in any fiscal year, together with any amount paid by the Commonwealth in the fiscal year preceding the fiscal year, together with any amount paid by the Commonwealth in the fiscal year preceding the fiscal year of such proposed issuance on account of bonds or notes guaranteed by the Commonwealth, exceeds 15 percent of the average annual revenues raised under the provisions of Commonwealth legislation and deposited into the Treasury internal revenues in the two fiscal years preceding the fiscal year of such proposed issuance. Section 2 of Article VI does not limit the amount of debt that the Commonwealth may guarantee so long as the 15 percent limitation is not exceeded through payments by the Commonwealth on such guaranteed debt. Internal revenues consist principally of income taxes, property taxes and excise taxes. Certain revenues, such as federal excise taxes on offshore shipments of alcoholic beverages and tobacco products and customs duties, which are collected by the United States Government and returned to the Treasury and motor vehicle fuel taxes and license fees, which are allocated to the Highway and Transportation Authority, are not included as internal revenues for the purpose of calculating the debt limit, although they may be available for the payment of debt service. In addition, the portion of the Sales Tax (as defined under the Tax Reform) allocated to the Puerto Rico Sales Tax Financing Corporation, which legislation provides that such portion is not “available resources” under the Constitutional provisions relating to the Bonds.

All or a portion of the proceeds of certain refunding bonds issued by the Commonwealth were invested in guaranteed investment contracts or federal agency securities (in each case rated in the highest category by Moody’s and S&P, none of which is eligible to be used for a legal defeasance under Puerto Rico law (non-eligible investments). Since bonds refunded with proceeds of non-eligible investments are not legally defeased, such bonds are treated as outstanding for purposes of the 15 percent debt limitation.

Future maximum annual debt service for the Commonwealth’s outstanding general obligation debt is $981,295,893 in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015. This amount ($981,295,893) plus the amount paid by the Commonwealth ($16,520,000), for a total of $997,815,893, is equal to 13.15 percent of $7,587,526,000, which is the average of the adjusted internal revenues for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2010 and preliminary internal revenues for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2011.

The Commonwealth’s policy has been and continues to be to maintain the amount of such debt prudently below the constitutional limitation. Debt of municipalities, other than bond anticipation notes, is supported by real and personal property taxes and municipal license taxes. Debt of public corporations, other than bond anticipation notes, is generally supported by the revenues of such corporations from rates charged for services or products. However, certain debt of public corporations is supported, in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, by Commonwealth appropriations or taxes.

Direct debt of the Commonwealth is issued pursuant to specific legislation approved in each particular case. Debt of the municipalities is issued pursuant to ordinances adopted by the respective municipal assemblies. Debt of public corporations is issued in accordance with their enabling statutes. The GDB, as a Commonwealth and its municipalities and public corporations fiscal agent must approve the specific terms of each issuance.

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