Politico has a piece that argues for making the island a state, with full representation in Congress….
The points are well stated but fail to mention the reasons why it won’t happen….
The 3.4 million people there are majority Democratic voters….
The Congress of the US is majority Republican, so is the President….
In the Senate that would make two more Democratic Senator’s…..And right now?…That would make the breakdown of Senators 54 Republicans vs 48 Democrats and 2 Independents which caucus with the Democrats ….So it would be 54 GOP vs 52 Dem /Ind…..
Republicans will NOT honor the last vote from the Island to move up to being a states….It’s politics….
Puerto Rico has a huge Debt problem …
The government owes at least $70 Billion in fiscal obligations and another $50 million in pension obligations….
The American Government has basically stood by while debtors keep going to court demanding repayment in full…
Any bailout would close to record setting….
Add that to the money that will be finally spent on the Hurricane relief which could be almost $100 Million….
The case for statehood for Puerto Rico—at least on policy and moral grounds—has always been solid. The island became a territory 118 years ago, and Congress established local self- government in 1952, launching a 65-yearfailed experiment in autonomy without democratic accountability. As a territory Puerto Rico does not participate in the national economy on an equal footing or level playing field with the states, nor can it compete equally in the international markets. Territorial status is constitutionally temporary and typically does not lead to economic self-sufficiency.
Even before the hurricanes, Puerto Rico’s debt reached an astronomical $72 billion and its economy has effectively been in recession for the last 10 years, causing an exodus of young people from the island. While liberal policies worsened Puerto Rico’s economic problems, second-class citizenship treatment and competitive disadvantages inherent in territorial status created hurdles for individuals and businesses alike not found in states.
For instance, Puerto Rico was given the unique ability to offer triple-tax exempt bonds, which weren’t subject to federal, state or municipal taxes, making the island an attractive spot for investment. But Congress phased out the law over 10 years, starting in 1996. Closing these tax loopholes, combined with the military base closures, precipitated Puerto Rico’s recent economic troubles. Without voting representation in Congress or electoral votes for the presidency, Puerto Rico had no voice in those changes.
Washington discriminates against the island in myriad other ways too. Working residents of Puerto Rico must have three or more children to qualify for the refundable portion of the Child Tax Credit, while workers on the mainland must only have one or two children. Incredibly, residents of Puerto Rico pay more than $3 billion in federal payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare, as well as import-export and commodities taxes—but benefits under those and other federal programs are lower than in the states. Puerto Rico also does not have access to the same bankruptcy protections as states, an oversight that became a big problem as the island has struggled under its huge debt levels.
This is blatant political and economic discrimination and it’s long past time that it ended. Statehood would give Puerto Ricans equal rights, duties and opportunities of national and state citizenship, starting with equal political empowerment through voting representation in Congress and the Electoral College. Such a change would benefit the island economically as well….