With less than 24 hours until election day, our look into the Puerto Rico Status Referendum takes on the seemingly dominant option of the ballot: Statehood. As readers will recall, Puerto Ricans will vote on a two-part question on Election Day concerning their relationship with the United States. On the first part, voters will be asked whether or not they want to continue with the current territorial relationship, currently known as the “commonwealth” option. This question follows the recommendations of the White House in their Task Force Report on Status, since it includes the current status (i.e. the one championed by the Popular Democratic Party) as a stand-alone option for voters. The second question on the ballot asks voters which non-territorial option they prefer: Independence, Sovereign Commonwealth or Statehood.
Statehood: What is it
Under statehood, Puerto Rico would petition Congress for admission as the 51st state. If admitted, it would have approximately 7 representatives and 2 senators, giving it an approximate total of 9 electoral votes (equal to or more than the electoral votes 31 states have as of 2012). As a state, Puerto Rico would finally be subject to federal income taxes (we only pay Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security taxes), but it would benefit from the Earned Income Tax Credit (which Fox News’ Stuart Varney places at twenty billion dollars), full parity with Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, as well as an increase in federal funds. Puerto Rico would, besides having full representation in Congress, finally end its century-long colonial relationship with the United States.
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