SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Puerto Rico's National Retail Federation is reporting an up to 30 percent drop in holiday sales in the U.S. territory amid a worsening economic crisis.
Federation President Ruben Pinero told reporters Tuesday that about 70 percent of businesses reported the decrease during a recent survey. He blamed the drop on an 11.5 percent sales and use tax that recently took effect.
Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla increased the tax from 7 percent last year to help generate up to $1.2 billion in revenue as the island struggles through a nearly decade-long economic slump. Critics say the tax has forced some businesses to close and has curtailed shopping.
It is the highest sales tax compared with any U.S. state.