Puerto Rico Votes To Become 51st US State

Apparently, two-thirds of the political parties in the USA territory stood in opposition to the likelihood of Puerto Rico becoming an official state, further solidifying the U.S.' opposition towards finalizing the referendum outcome.

Puerto Ricans who voted for USA statehood in a non-binding referendum Sunday are "claiming our equal rights as American citizens", Puerto Rico's governor says.

"This is the fifth time there's been a referendum on statehood". The most recent was in 2012, where the majority voted in favor of statehood, but Congress never picked up the matter.

Puerto Rico's economy has been in recession since 2006, according to the General Accounting Office, and its levels of employment and labor force participation are relatively low, compared with those of the USA states.

He maintains that statehood is key to overcoming Puerto Rico's economic problems, which reached crisis point last month it filed for bankruptcy in May, owing more than $70 billion in public debt and with 12.7 percent unemployment.

Opponents called the referendum a waste of money and worry statehood would take away from the island's cultural identity. The Justice department viewed the language as politically unfair to millions of Puerto Ricans who favor territory status, prompting Rossello to add the territory option. While Gov. Ricardo Rosello said the vote sent a strong message to Washington, the Puerto Rican government hasn't approved a request for statehood, and the final decision rests with Congress. Just 7,600 opted for free association/independence; 6,700 voted to remain a US territory. That would be an additional burden on Puerto Ricans who are already struggling to pay enough in taxes to cover the island's debts.

"From today going forward, the federal Government will no longer be able to ignore the voice of the majority of the American citizens in Puerto Rico".

Attachments to cultural and national identity are the main reasons why Puerto Ricans may oppose US statehood, Cruz-Martinez said. Thanks to its triple-tax-exemption (interest is free from federal, state, or local income taxation), individual investors and tax-exempt bond funds have been soaking up the island's debt offerings for years, allowing it to spend far beyond its means.

"We're American citizens, but second class citizens".

However, Commonwealth supporters disagree with the governor's statement about it being "the will of our people", because yes, 97% of the voters supported statehood; however, only about 23% of eligible voters went to the polls.

If Puerto Rico joined the union, it would be the first state admitted since Hawaii in 1959. Along with the missing option, the original ballot incorrectly claimed statehood was the only way Puerto Ricans would be granted American citizenship. As Rossello said, "The plebiscite has to be for a future solution to the status issue.... It lacks the backing of the United States federal government and comes at the worst possible time to solicit political concessions from Congress", he wrote. There has been a surge in Puerto Rican population in Florida, where the Puerto Rican population has tripled to more than 700,000, drawn by better job prospects.

"Tomorrow, not voting is a form of voting".

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