Page 1

August 19G1


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Inicrsecitoii hciwee/i Old Sun Juan and Condado and Santnrce sections of the city.

Doiia Felisa Rincon de Gamier.

Mayoress of San Juan.

SAN JUANâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;Capital of Puerto Rico

San Juan, the Capital of Puerto Rico, is the twenty-ninth largest city of the United States. Based on the 1960 Federal census, San Juan's population of 450,000 makes the City somewhat larger than Phoenix, Arizona and some what smaller than Columbus, Ohio.

The San Juan metropolitan area which includes the adjacent municipalities of Bayamon, Cataho, Guaynabo, Carolina and Trujillo Alto, has a population of more than 625,000.

Founded in 1521, San Juan is the oldest city within the United States. Although still possessing old world charm and historical buildings, the City has become one of the most modern and progressive in the western hemisphere. Located on the north coast of Puerto Rico, which is the northeast border of

the Caribbean Sea, San Juan is about 1.600 miles southeast of New York City or

314 hours by jet flight, and 1,000 miles southeast of Miami. With an excellent seaport and airport, it is the hub of the economic, financial, educational, cul tural and governmental activities on the island.

PUERTO RICO The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico exercises virtually the same control over its internal affairs as do the fifty States over theirs. It differs from them primarily in its relationship to the Federal Government in that it is represented

in Washington by an elected Resident Commissioner who is seated in Congress where he has a voice but no vote, and that Federal tax laws are not applicable

in Puerto Rico. This relationship is defined through the medium of a compact entered into by Congress and the People of Puerto Rico and described below. History

Puerto Rico came under United States sovereignty by the Treaty of Paris on Ponce de Leon A venue,

one of the busy streets of the Santiirce section of San Juan.

December 10, 1898. The Congress of the United States provided for a civil government for the island in 1900. The original act was superseded in 1917 by

the Organic Act of Puerto Rico, which granted United States citizenship to Puerto Ricans as well as unrestricted suffrage for local purposes. In accordance with the wishes of the People of Puerto Rico, the 81st Con

gress enacted Public Law 600, approved July 3, 1950. This law, which is "in

the nature of a compact," became effective upon its acceptance by the electorate of Puerto Rico. It provides that those sections of the Organic Act which define the political, economic and fiscal relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States shall remain in full force and shall be thereafter known as the

The Municipal Building stands in the heart of Old San Juan.

Puerto Rican Federal Relations Act. It also authorized the People of Puerto Rico to draft and approve their own constitution. The Constitution was drafted by a freely elected constitutional convention, overwhelmingly approved in a special referendum, and approved by Congress and the President. It became effective upon proclamation of the Governor of Puerto Rico on July 25, 1952. The Commonwealth Government

The Constitution recognizes and assures a separation of powers among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. Both the Governor and the bicam

eral legislature are subject to regular election every four years. The Legislature operates under standard parliamentary and legislative rules. The judicial sys tem, administered by a Supreme Court appointed for life, is composed of lower and intermediate courts. Writs of error and appeals entered by the District Court of the United States for Puerto Rico and appeals from the Supreme Court may be taken to the United State.s Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and to the Supreme Court of the United States, as provided by law. Governmental responsibilities assumed by the Commonwealth are greater than those normally assumed by a Stale government. Municipalities which combine both rural and urban areas are the only local political subdivisions. The only units of government with the right to levy ad valorem taxes are the Commonwealth Government and the municipalities. There is, therefore, no other overlapping taxation or bonded indebtedness payable from taxes. The Commonwealth Government assumes responsibility for a number of important functions normally performed by local governments in the continental United States. Among these are police and fire protection, education, all major street and highway construction, and public health programs, in addition, the Com monwealth Government supervises municipal fiscal affairs to a very substantial extent.



A typical modern school in the Rio Piedras section of Son Juan

Commonwealth and municipal governments are relieved of most of the responsibility for constructing and financing electric, water and sewer, and

harbor and airport systems by the Water Resources Authority, the Aqueduct

and Sewer Authority, and the Ports Authority. The bonded debts of these public corporations are and will be supported entirely by revenues derived from their operations.

Expansion and Diversification of the Economy of Puerto Rico

Economic growth in Puerto Rico since 1940 has been very rapid. Net income of the economy has increased from a level of $225 million in 1940 to $1,311

million in 1960. Output of the economy, measured in terms of gross product adjusted for price changes, has shown an average increase of about 5.2% com pounded annually. Diversification of the Commonwealth's economy has been equally impres sive. In 1940, agriculture generated $70 million or 31 per cent of net income, about half of which came from sugar cane alone. Cane sugar constituted 62 per cent of merchandise exports; manufactured products little more than onefourth. Only $27 million or 12 per cent of Puerto Rico's net income came from manufacturing. In 1940 industrial establishments consisted mostly of small needlework shops and processors of agricultural products. By fiscal 1960, however, although agricultural net income had grown to $177 million, this sector of the economy accounted for but 14 per cent of Commonwealth net

income. Sugar constituted less than 20 per cent of merchandise exports. Manufacturing, having expanded ten times since 1940, now substantially surpasses agriculture in importance. In fiscal 1960, manufacturing provided $289 million or 22 per cent of Puerto Rico's net income. Under the industrial development program initiated in the early 1950's, Puerto Rico had, as of June 30. 1961, over 700 new factories producing petroleum products, apparel, petro-chemicals, electronic products, appliances, abrasives, aircraft parts, plastic products and numerous other items. Many plants are branches or subsidiaries

of major mainland companies, including such firms as General Electric Corp.. W. R. Grace & Co., American Can Co., Consolidated Cisar Corp., Sunbeam

The School of Medicine of the University of Puerto Rico.

Corp., The Carborundum Co., Sperry Rand Corp., Union Carbide Corp.. Phelps Dodge Copper Products International Corp., Indian Head Mills, Inc., Nebraska Consolidated Mills Inc., Parke, Davis & Co., Inc., A. G. Spalding &

Bros., Inc., Van Raalte, International Shoe Corp., B. V D., Van Camp Sea Food, Star Kist, Dentists' Supply Co., International Paper Company and Daystrom, Inc.

One of the most significant developments in the economy has been the in creasing rate of fixed investment in Puerto Rico, especially during the past six years. Investment in fixed capital goods, such as new construction, machinery and equipment, has risen from an average of $136 million for 1950-53 to $323 million in 1960, or almost 21% of the gross product of the economy. Incurrence and Payment of Municipal Debt

Puerto Rico is divided into seventy-five contiguous municipalities, each of which consists of urban and rural areas. Municipalities may incur bonded debt

only after receiving approval of the Governor of the Commonwealth. This is obtained only after recommendation of the Department of Justice, the Planning Board and the Department of the Treasury, and the bonds must be sold

through the Government Development Bank as fiscal agent. The Governor is empowered to veto any municipal bond ordinance where legally available debt margin is not sufficient or where adequate revenues are not or cannot be com mitted to debt service. There is no limitation on the amount of taxes that may

be levied on property for the payment of public debt. Act No. 142 (Municipal Law) approved July 21, 1960 provides in Section 61 that interest on the public debt and amortization thereof constitutes a first General Distric t Hospital, Rio Pieciras section, San Juan.

budgetary charge on any and all available municipal revenues. Property is assessed by the Secretary of the Treasury throughout Puerto Rico, and he col lects directly all municipal and other taxes upon real and personal property. From these collections, the amount allocated for the payment of principal and interest on outstanding obligations is retained for each municipality and depos

ited in redemption funds. Sums sufficient to meet payments on municipal debt as it becomes due are withdrawn and paid by the Secretary of the Treasury of the Commonwealth from the appropriate municipal bond redemption fund.

The larger municipalities, including San Juan, have been limited by Federal law in the incurrence of bonded debt to 10% of assessed valuation. This limita

tion is now in process of being changed from Federal law to the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and is expected to remain as the same per

centage of assessed valuation.

The most recent reappraisal of assessed valuations was made in 1958, and present assessments are estimated to average between 85% and 90% of 1957 market values.

La Concha, one of the modern resort hotels of Sun Juan.


As the largest city in Puerto Rico, the San Juan metropolitan area including its five adjacent municipalities accounts for over one-fourth of the population of the island, or about 625,000 persons.

San Juan has shared fully in the industrial growth of Puerto Rico. According

to the 1958 Census of Manufacturers, San Juan had over 27 per cent of the




manufacturing establishments in the island, and the metropolitan area over

37 per cent. Of more than 700 new plants established in Puerto Rico with the help of the Economic Development Administration up to June 30, 1961, with

Puerto Rico International Airport, adjacent to San Juan.

a total original investment estimated at $550,000,000, 190 were within San Juan itself, and over one-half within the metropolitan area. The tourist business in Puerto Rico is based largely in San Juan, and the

1960 expenditures estimated at $53,000,000 by some 344,000 visitors, rep resent increases of 28% and 31% respectively over the previous year. San Juan is the central headquarters for all offices of the Commonwealth

Government, as well as for all the autonomous public corporations. It is the center for all Federal Government offices, and large military establishments

are maintained by the armed forces of the United States in and around San Juan. The University of Puerto Rico, with an enrollment of over 18,000 students,

has its principal campus in Rio Piedras, a district of the municipality of San Juan.

The International Airport, located at Carolina, immediately adjacent to San Juan, is served by ten regularly scheduled airlines, and cleared 1,463,000 passengers in fiscal 1961 on international and local or inter-island flights. The seaport of San Juan handled 75% of the 6,166,000 short tons of cargo moving through Puerto Rico's ports in 1959. The Ports Authority, operator of both the seaports and airports, is engaged in a $30,000,000 three-year construction program for expansion of its facilities. Financial Administration

On August 9, 1961, San Juan will sell a bond issue in the amount of $5,000,000, maturing July I, 1963 through 1982. Part of the proceeds will be used to retire $3,000,000 of bond anticipation notes which had been issued

in the preceding fiscal year to finance general public improvements. After allowing for the sale of these bonds, gross debt will be $26,750,000, and net debt, after deducting bond redemption funds, will be $24,199,206.

This includes $2,740,000 in bond anticipation notes, issued in connection with future borrowing plans described below. Grov;th in assessed valuation, which amounts to $851,606,970 for 1961-

62, has kept pace with net indebtedness, as shown on the following pages. The present ratio of net debt of $22,199,206 to assessed valuation is 2.6%,and after the sale of this issue will be $24,199,206, or 2.9%. Per capita net debt of $49.40 is moderate.

Aerial view of one of

the major public housing projects of San Juan, the Llorens Torres

Project in the Santurce section.

The only overlapping tax supported indebtedness is that of the Common

wealth, of which the San Juan share is 44.8%. Net overlapping debt, including this issue will be $96,872,030, or 11.4% of assessed valuation.

Bond maturities over the next five years average about 6.4% each year of net debt outstanding.

Many of the functions usually associated with municipal administration in the States are handled by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico itself. Conse

quently, the actual expenditures of the Capital of Puerto Rico are relatively modest. San Juan is empowered to levy an annual tax of 2 per cent of its taxable property for operating expenses and special local purposes. Under the Municipal Borrowing Law, unlimited ad valorem taxes may be levied for payment of all bonds issued. The actual tax rate of $2.13 per $100, of which $1.03 is levied for general Commonwealth purposes, and $.28 for San Juan bond purposes, is exceptionally low in comparison with cities of similar size. Headquarters building of the

All property tax collections and all debt service funds are administered

Puerto Rico Water Resources

directly by the Secretary of the Treasury of Puerto Rico, who retains in his custody from these collections the amounts appropriated for the payment of principal and interest on outstanding obligations. The City relies for its rev enues mainly on the property tax. It also derives revenues from municipal licenses and fees, and a percentage of the cigarette tax and automobile license fees levied by the Commonwealth Government are returned to the City. The Puerto Rico Water Resources Authority pays to the City, in lieu of taxes, 6 per cent of its gross revenues collected in the municipality. For the present fiscal year this payment is estimated to be over $1 million.

Authority in San Jucin

Tax Penalties and Reductions

In June, 1958, the Legislature enacted Public Law No. 67 which provided for an increase thereafter from 6% to 9% per annum in the interest rate charged on delinquent taxes. Whereas no penalties were previously charged on delinquent taxes, other than interest, the Act provides that thereafter a penalty of 5% of the amount of the tax will be added after becoming 30 days delinquent, increasing to 10% after becoming 60 days delinquent. Furthermore, as additional incentive for the prompt payment of property taxes, the Legislature approved in 1959 Act No. 80, of June 25, 1959 granting a 10% discount if the taxes for the entire fiscal year are paid within 30 days; a 5% discount if paid during 60 days; and a 3% discount if half the taxes are paid within 30 days and the other half within 30 days after January 1 of the fiscal year. These discounts are granted only if all delinquent taxes including

San Juan harbor.

.ftwjSx" mm..


One of the modern

shopping centers in the Rio Piedras section of San Juan.

penalties are paid in full at the time the discount is claimed upon payment of current taxes. During fiscal year 1960-61 discounts for prompt payment in the

amount of $860,705 were granted for current taxes and $121,141 for previous year's taxes.

On May 31, 1960 the Legislature approved Act No. 15 granting, for the fiscal year 1960-61, a graduated tax relief to residential property owners occupying their homes. The purpose was to stimulate and encourage home construction and ownership as a primary objective in Puerto Rico. The tax reduction was scaled from 75/100 of 1 % of the assessed valuation on such

homes valued at $6,000 or less, or an average of $45 or less, and increased up to a flat $85 for homes valued at $20,000 or more. The granting of this tax

relief resulted in a decrease of $727,660 in the revenues of this Municipality for fiscal year 1960-61. On June 6, 1961 the Legislature approved Act No. 23 providing a larger percentage tax reduction on owner-occupied homes for the fiscal year 1961-62, but the reduction would be applied only up to the first $15,000 of assessed

valuation. On an owner-occupied residence with an assessed valuation up to $6,000 the tax would be reduced by 75% of the amount of the total levy subject to collection ($2.13 per $1,000 in San Juan). This percentage reduc tion declines gradually to 50% on the first $15,000 of assessed valuation. It should be emphasized that neither Act No. 15 nor Act No. 23 will lessen the sources of revenues of San Juan since the same acts provide that the loss of property taxes resulting from the reductions granted on owner-occupied residences up to $15,000 of their assessed valuations will be reimbursed in full to the municipalities by annual legislative appropriations out of the Com monwealth general fund.

Neither of these acts reduces the assessed valuation of any residential prop erty. The properties will remain on the taxrolls and will be liable to the levy of taxes, if needed, for debt service purposes. The obligation of the Munici

pality of San Juan remains unchanged to levy a special tax on all taxable property, including owner-occupied homes, if necessary in an amount sufficient, with any other available funds, for the payment of debt service on their out standing bonds.

Street scene,

Condado section of San Juan.

The Caribe Hilton, one of the leading resort hotels of San Juan. Additional Bond Authorizations

In July, 1958, San Juan authorized the issuance of $24,100,000 public

improvement bonds to cover a five-year capital improvement program. Two series of $5,000,000 each were sold in June 1959 and November I960; fol

lowing the present sale of $5,000,000 Series C bonds, the remainder will be sold in lots of about the same size, at approximately one year intervals. In addition, in 1958 San Juan authorized the issuance of $3,000,000 bonds

for the purpose of construction of a stadium. Final plans including additional facilities, have set the construction cost at $6,000,000. Within the next few

weeks an Ordinance authorizing the issuance of $6,000,000 for this purpose will be adopted by San Juan and the previous Ordinance authorizing $3,000,000 will be repealed. While these will be general obligation bonds, it is expected that revenues will be adequate to cover debt service. Bond antici pation notes against this issue have been sold in the amount of $1,800,000; the bond issue will be sold late in 1962.

In 1959, an issue of $10,000,000 bonds was authorized for construction

of single and multiple-unit low cost housing. Again, these will be general obli gation bonds, but San Juan will be liable only for the deficiency by which rental revenues fail to cover operating costs and debt service. Bond anticipation notes in the amount of $1,000,000 have been sold in advance of this issue; a bond

issue in the amount of one half of the authorization is expected to be sold in 1962.

The debt paying record of San Juan is clear of default or delinquency. There Middle income housing project in the Rio Ficdras section

of San Juan.

has never been any forced or "managed" refunding of maturing bonds to avoid default. A similar debt record exists for the central government and all munici palities and instrumentalities of Puerto Rico.

Under the provisions of the Acts of Congress and the Constitution and Laws of Puerto Rico now in force, the bonds and income therefrom are, in

the opinion of Bond Counsel, exempt from Federal, State and Commonwealth of Puerto Rico taxation.

The bonds are legal investments for Savings Banks and Trust Funds in the State of New York. They are also eligible for deposit by banks in Puerto Rico to secure public funds, and by insurance companies to qualify them as required by law to do business in Puerto Rico.

Outstanding Public Net Debt of San Juan Versus Legal Debt Limit Fiscal Years 1950-51 to 1960-61 millions

of dollars 100 95



10% of Assessed Valuolioii — Real and Personal Properly



75 70 65 60 55 50 45 40

35 30 25 20 15 10 5

■ m 50-51









See inside cover for financial tables on Assessed Valuations, Property Tax Collec


tions, Operating Receipts and Expenditures, and Trend of Bonded Indebtedness.




SAN JUAN—Capifal of Puerto Rico Property Tax Collections FISCAL


1947-48 1948-49 1949-50 1950-51 1951-52* 1952-53* 1953-54 1954-55 1955-56 1956-57 1957-58 1958-59* 1959-60 1960-61

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .


PER $1,000



. . . . . . . . . . . .

$129,319,280 140,925,060 163,146,880 222,396,140 298,476,900 334,521,000 358,617,020 391,729,690 418,830,660 451,645,450 521,067,120 709,269,090


$ 3,667,853 4,238,823 5,379,068 5,528,338 6,937,280 6,871,070


. .


. .

807,716,360 851,606,970

. . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .




1961-62t . . . .

29.70 33.10 33.10 21.00 21.00 21.00 23.90 25.10 25.10 25.10 21.30 21.30 21.30 21.30

2,992,626 4,048,808 4,441,187 316,121* 644,802* 4,925,340 6,317,998 6,941,097 6,923,244 7,053,283

7,479,891 9,175,927 10,292,682 11,094,552 11,838,941 13,808,520 13,121,030^ 13,002,153§ 14,500,000

8,623,438 7,543,238


* Increases in Assessed Valuation resulted partly from annual growth in tax base and partly from a change in basis of assessment. ■i" Official estimate.

* The gross figure of taxes levied was $13,841,870. This amount was adjusted by discounts for prompt payment of $720,840.

§ The gross figure of taxes levied was $14,590,518. This amount was adjusted during this fiscal year by discounts for prompt payment granted in the amounts of $860,705 in accordance with Act 80 of June 25, 1959, and for tax reductions in the amount of $727,660 in accordance with Act 15 of May 31, 1960.

Cash Receipts FISCAL












$5,973,789 6,604,145 5,440,694 8,809,338 4,952,432


$3,521,161 6,627,655

$ 8,456,212


7,005,213 2,200,000 8,100,000

7,101,498 9,733,713 9,378,306

1956-57. 1957-58. 1958-59. 1959-60 1960-61

. . . . .

. . . . .

. . . . .

7,048,176 8,028,451 8,318,244 10,488,302

$15,327,373 13,676,348 22,135,162 20,251,957 27,966,608

Expenditures FISCAL












$2,787,174 1,138,478 3,544,183 6,469,930 6,587,893

$1,457,452 1,525,645

$10,452,391 12,175,676 13,823,347 15,829,548 17,264,438

$14,697,017 14,839,799 18,766,518 24,108,863 25,737,608


1956-57. 1957-58. 1958-59. 1959-60 1960-61

. . . .

. . . .

. . . .

1,398,988 1,809,385


5,440,694 8,809,338 4,952,432 7,181,432


Trend of Bonded Indebtedness












1 940

$ 6,852,532 4,952,400

Not Available Not Available

Not Available Not Available

$1,170,448 2,466,172

$ 2,272,552

5.0 4.6 2.1 2.2 2A 2.5 1.7 2.1 2.1 2.6


1945 1950 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961

3,443,000 9,253,000 10,766,000 12,915,000 1 1,884,000 16,170,000 17,1 18,000 24,750,000*

2,528,849 2,461,239 2,519,840 2,606,662 2,847,750 2,550,794

6,786,828 8,237,151 10,453,761 9,364,160 13,563,338 14,270,250 22.199.206

20.80 9.30 25.08 29.18 35.00 28.57 35.99 38.10 49.40

Includes $5,740,000 in bond anticipation notes of which $3,000,000 will be retired out of the proceeds of this bond issue.






ON 6-30-61



$ 631,301 503,335 1,151,291 899,261

$ 3,625,611 3,495,961 5,200,099


81.6 70.6 75.3 80.3 4.6** 9.4** 65.8 68.9 67.4 62.4 59.6 62.5 57.5 70.4

162,745 169,604 237,31 1 507,030 468,592 467,125 502,062 704,814 956,579 1,159,879 1,744,326 2,813,754 3,849,028

5,340,448 789,920 5,809,333 10,670,445 8,675,787 9,503,252 9,513,082 10,749,592 13,303,727 12,085,018 12,423,745

473,799 5,164,531 5,745,105 2,357,789 2,562,155 2,589,838 3,696,309 4,680,289 4,541,780 3,270,620t



$ 128,413


98.8 82.5 96.7 96.6 11.4 84.5 142.7 94.5 92.3 85.7 90.8 96.3 92.1 95.5

tt Property tax collections through 1959-60 were about 60% for San Juan and 40% for Commonwealth purposes; in 1960-61, the division was about equal between the two purposes. rr 00 **Tax collections in 1951-52 and 1952-53 were abnormal because the reassessment program resulted in delays in

. issuance of tax bills and granting of non-penalty periods pending hearings on protests against new valuations, t Taxes settled with this collection amounted to $3,391,761 since $121,141 were granted as discounts for prompt payment.

Overlapping Debt Assessed Valuation, 1961-62


Net Direct Debt, June 30, 1961


. $162,216,125


San Juan share 44.8%

San Juan


Per cent of total A. V.



. $ 72,672,824 22,199,206


San Juan direct debt

Net Overlapping Debt . . . $ 94,872,030

Ratio of net overlapping debt to Assessed Valuation Per capita net overlapping debt



Bond Requirements, Next Five Years Outstanding Principal .








$ 1,408,000

















Interest Total New Issue




Breakdown of Property Tax



Rate (Per hundred dollars) SAN JUAN



Cieneral Funds* Loans

$ .82 .










Total Municipal Commonwealth Total



* The tax rate levy of San Juan for general purposes is $1.02, but $.20 is granted as a reduction and is not collected as authorized by Act No. 16. approved May 31. 1960. and the rate for Commonwealth purposes was raised from $.83 to $1.03. Act No.

23. of June 6. 1961 directs the Secretary of the Treasury of Puerto Rico to compen sate the municipality in an amount equivalent to the reductions granted in various amounts on assessed valuations of owner-occupied homes.




Profile for Colección Puertorriqueña UPR RP

Special Report on San Juan (August 1961)  

Published by Government Development Bank For Puerto Rico (Banco Gubernamental de Fomento).

Special Report on San Juan (August 1961)  

Published by Government Development Bank For Puerto Rico (Banco Gubernamental de Fomento).