Should Puerto Rico become the 51st state?Introduction How would you feel if you paid taxes to the United States federal government yet had no say in voting for U.S Congress nor presidential elections, because even though you are a United States citizen, you do not live in an area that is considered a state? A majority of the population would be furious, which is why the fact that Puerto Rico is not considered a U.S state is unjust. Puerto Rico should become the United States 51st state for many reasons but the most important being the fact that Puerto Rico would actually economically improve, gain more from paying taxes, and would also gain more voting rights.Narration On March 2, 1917 Wilson signed the Jones-Shafroth Act, meaning that Puerto Rico would officially become U.S territory and Puerto Ricans were granted U.S citizenship (Gomez). Even though Puerto Ricans are considered “U.S citizens” they are unable to vote for congress nor in presidential elections, simply due to the fact that in the United States constitution it states that U.S territories are unable to vote for congress and in presidential elections (Willingham). It is no secret that Puerto Rico is in trouble. After filing bankruptcy this year, Puerto Rico has a 45 percent poverty rate and owes $49 billion in pensions they can not pay, however by gaining statehood Puerto Rico would be in a better stance to pay off that debt (Bomey).Confirmation By becoming the U.S 51st state Puerto Rico would be able to economically improve and would be able to be in a better stance to start paying off their debt. According to New York Times reporter Frances Robles, statehood advocates argue that, “with the income and corporate taxes it would receive as a state, Puerto Rico would not be in its current financial mess” (Saul). Being a state would mean that they could obtain an additional $20 billion in federal funding, meaning Puerto Rico would be able to jumpstart their economy (Robles). Also, it would help create growth in tourism. By connecting Americans to Puerto Rico more people who want to travel there, just like when Hawaii became a state, meaning more money would be coming in to the economy. Puerto Ricans pay taxes to the U.S government like all states do, yet are not considered a state. In 2009, Puerto Rico paid close to $4 billion into the U.S Treasury, Puerto Ricans also pay the majority of federal taxes that mainland citizens pay like payroll taxes, social security taxes, business taxes, gift taxes, estate taxes, and more (Campoy). Federal Emergency Management Agency stated that they approved $35 million in both public and individual assistant grants for the island, however FEMA approved of $691 million in grants for Florida and $323 million to Texas . The U.S President, Trump claims that Puerto Rico should be “grateful” for whatever help they receive from the US. Puerto Rico is entitled to the same amount of financial aid as any other state, it is how the federal government is meant to work (Campbell). The fact that Florida received 20x more financial aid than Puerto Rico after hurricane Irma and Maria when Puerto Rico was in equal or worse condition than Florida. Puerto Ricans fund the U.S government by being American taxpayers like any other state, meaning they helped pay for relief after Harvey in Texas and for Florida after Irma. Therefore Puerto Rico would gain more from paying U.S taxes by becoming a state. Due to the fact that Puerto Rico is U.S territory and not a U.S state, Puerto Ricans are unable to vote for congress and in the presidential election. This is because in Article II, section 1 of the U.S constitution states that only states can partake in the electoral process. Therefore even though many of the 3.4 million U.S citizens living in Puerto Rico are of voting age, veterans, or active military they are unable to vote for their president (Murriel). For the more than 10,000 active military personal in Puerto Rico whom served to defend the constitution it is a huge insult to them as Americans (Fox News). This is why many Puerto Ricans have been moving to the mainland recently because once they establish residency in a state they are able to vote in the presidential election (Gomez). It is unbelievable that U.S citizens have to move in order to vote for their president. RefutationMany Americans claim that if Puerto Rico became a state that its residents would now have to pay federal income taxes, which they are currently exempt from. Many people believe that since Puerto Ricans already struggle to pay enough taxes to cover the islands massive debt that if they became a state they could not afford to pay for all of the taxes and would bring the U.S economy down (Long). Yes, Puerto Rico would have more taxes to pay if they gained statehood, however Puerto Rico paid more in federal taxes than six states this past year (PR51st). Also it was projected that Puerto Rico as a state would actually add to the U.S taxpayer rather than depend on it (Hernández). Currently P.R costs the United States more than $9.7 billion yearly because of what the U.S loses from federal taxes due to large corporations doing business on the island and from grants-in-aid and transfer payments to the island (Campbell). P.R receives large amounts of federal grants-in-aid like veteran benefits and welfare payments which are not offset by taxes collected on the island. If Puerto Rico became a U.S state families would actually be able to pay their taxes while still improving their net income and general living. Becoming a state would mean that low income Puerto Ricans would also have the access to tax relief and federal support programs like Americans living on the mainland. Hawaii and Alaska showed that once admitted to the Union their economies grew exponentially, and became net contributors to the U.S Treasury. Puerto Rico as a state was estimated to contribute close to $2 billion to the U.S treasury per year. By becoming the 51st state economic growth is possible, with this there would be more jobs, less unemployed, and less debt (United States Council For Puerto Rico Statehood). Conclusion Overvall, Puerto Rico should become the United States 51st state due to the fact that currently the 3.4 million U.S citizens living there pay most taxes that people who live in a state do yet they are unable to vote for congress nor in the presidential election, and they would also be able to economically improve.
August 7, 2019 0 Comments