`Hamilton' Star Miranda Calls for Puerto Rico Debt Forgiveness

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(Bloomberg) -- Lin-Manuel Miranda wants Puerto Rico’s $74 billion of debt to be erased.

The creator and star of the Broadway hit "Hamilton," about the first U.S. Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, said Thursday in a Washington Post opinion piece that the island’s bondholders shouldn’t seek repayment. The commonwealth fell into bankruptcy in May.

Hurricane Maria struck the island Sept. 20, halting the island’s economy, destroying infrastructure and killing hundreds. Nearly three months later, its main electric utility is generating only 62 percent of its capacity. Governor Ricardo Rossello is seeking $94 billion in federal relief.

“Puerto Rico’s creditors should do the right thing and walk away,” Miranda wrote. “It is the only way forward. Anything short of full debt forgiveness would be a brutal form of economic punishment to a people already suffering.”

Miranda, who has relatives in Puerto Rico and spent childhood vacations on the island, has raised money for residents. He’s now urging Congress to remove a proposed 20 percent excise tax in the Republican bill overhauling the nation’s fiscal system.

That potential levy on goods produced on the island would affect the commonwealth’s critical manufacturing industry. Puerto Rico officials have warned it could cut as much as one third of its revenue collections.

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