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Puerto Rico leader unveils $9.8B operating budget

Thursday - 4/25/2013, 9:39pm  ET

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- Puerto Rico's governor has unveiled a $9.8 billion operating budget during a state of the commonwealth address in which he pledged to reduce crime, create jobs, boost school attendance and expand the U.S. territory's tourism sector.

Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla said late Thursday that he plans to reduce the island government's $2.2 billion deficit to $775 million in one year, in part by taxing those who earn $200,000 or more a year or who buy homes valued at $1 million or more. He did not provide details about those taxes.

He also plans to reduce the 7 percent sales tax to 6.5 percent and to increase the police budget to help fight crime.

The budget is $750 million more than the current budget, which drew sharp criticism from opposing legislators.

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