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Puerto Rico to be 51st state?

Travel & news discussion about Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico to be 51st state?

Postby KarenS » Mon Feb 27, 2006 8:27 am

In an article from the Detroit Times: "A recently released White House report calls for Puerto Ricans to vote on whether they want to remain an American possession, become the 51st state or become an independent country.
The report has stimulated debate from coffeehouses to the territory's seats of government over what course this island of more than 4 million should pursue.
Although Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, they can't vote for members of Congress or president because the territory has no electoral votes. They pay no federal income tax but contribute to Social Security, Medicare and other federal programs and pay about 32 percent of their salaries in taxes.
As a state, Puerto Rico would have two senators and six House members, and it would outrank 24 states and the District of Columbia in the pecking order for federal funding. And with its per capita income of $12,000 a year -- half that of Mississippi, the poorest state -- economists calculate that the island would receive at least $5 billion more in federal outlays per year than it would pay in taxes.
Puerto Ricans' status sometimes grates on their pride, especially when they feel they are being treated like second-class citizens. The last U.S. president to visit was John F. Kennedy, in 1961. U.S. airlines handle San Juan-bound traffic out of their international terminals. Shipping companies charge overseas rates for deliveries to the island. More than 1,000 Puerto Ricans have died in U.S. military service. Yet the 250,000 veterans here never had the right to vote for their commander in chief.
The report calls for a two-stage decision. First would be a vote on whether to change the territorial status. If the vote is yes, a second referendum would ask voters to choose between statehood and independence.
The first question is likely to be put to voters May 1, said Juan Garcia-Passalacqua, a professor and commentator on the status issue for about 50 years. He predicted voters would choose statehood.
Those opposed to statehood may win by default. Even if approved by voters, getting Congress to schedule a statehood vote could be an uphill battle.
"Odds are nothing will happen. It's not high in the priority list of anyone in Congress other than the Puerto Rican representative, and he has no vote," said Puerto Rican-born Maurice Ferre, a former mayor of Miami. He said there was a prevailing attitude among many U.S. lawmakers that 'Hey, 50 is a nice number, why change it?'"

Feedback on this? How would you vote?
Karen for Caribbean-On-Line.com
KarenS
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51st State?

Postby Josie » Sun Mar 05, 2006 8:31 pm

I was born and raised in Mayaguez, so I feel qualified to answer this; The answer is: "Frankly My Dear, I don't Give a D***". I subscribe to Rita Moreno's line in the 1964 movie "West Side Story", when she sings: "Puerrrto Rrrico, Let it SINK in the oceannnn...". Amen.

Overall, why should the island become a State of The Union? What for? Right now Puerto Rico is a Commonwealth of the USA, (just like Washington DC), "Estado-Libre-Asociado" is the concept, or in English: "Associate-Free-State", so P.R. enjoys the freedom of being a quasi-independent country, with the benefits of being entangled in the web of American Statehood. Puerto Ricans do not pay Federal Income Taxes directly to the IRS Service Center, but they do send a 1040 Return just like the one we all send over here in the USA, the exception is that it is in Espa√Īol and it is sent to the "Departamento De Hacienda", the local IRS modeled after the US IRS. I know because I was trained by H&R Block back in the 1970's and then I was re-trained and worked a short time by and with the IRS, and even today I help friends in Puerto Rico with their Tax Returns, again, they are modeled after the US 1040, the idea is the same, same 1040 and same Schedules. Yes you can get the Puerto Rican Tax Forms in English too. You could say Puertoricans pay State Income Taxes but at the Federal Rate. Oh yes. So let's not make it sound like Puertoricans are getting a free ride because they are NOT. And I will tell you more, Puertoricans serve in the US Military since WW2, then Korea, and in every other war the US has gotten itself into. In fact, one of the "Flying Wing" Stealth Bomber Pilots who is entrusted with pushing the button for a Nuclear Bomb to fall on say, Iran, happens to be a young guy from Puerto Rico. I know he will obey the President when he is given the order. Hey, I would obey the President too and I am not a pilot. Will someone push the button please? Are we tired YET of the Middle East? My father served in Korea and when my time came to serve in Vietnam, he advised me to keep my grades up in college so I wouldn't be drafted, and I did. Just like Clinton did. I am not ashamed either. Lots of privileged North Americans did too, and some did it for "religious reasons" (yeahh, right!). Otherwise I saw a lot of my friends come back in caskets or maimed without legs or arms. So you could say dear Karen, that puertoricans have paid a hefty price for their American citizenship, taxes aside. Besides, do you LOVE paying taxes? surely NOT. I bet you take every deduction you're entitled to, just like everyone else, puertoricans included.

So let's forget about Puerto Rico becoming a State of the Union, it's not going to happen, it does not need to happen, things are fine as they are. Puerto Ricans in their majority prefer the Status Quo, i.e., Permanent Association with the USA, the military protection of the USA, American Citizenship and its benefits, with the freedom to deal with local problems the way they see fit without interference from the Federal Government, provided that whatever decisions are made over there do not cause a problem with the US. I think the phrase "Keep It Simple Stupid" started in Puerto Rico, that's how they operate there mostly.

There is a 5% minority who is either communist or socialist-oriented and they are always whinning about "Puerto Rico being a COLONY". But Puertoricans are not fools, Puerto Rico HAS ALWAYS BEEN A COLONY, first of Spain for 400 years, and now of the USA for the last 100 years. Puerto Ricans are used to DEMOCRACY now, they just don't buy this "INDEPENDENT COUNTRY" hoopla, it's just a farse from the dammed communists to take over the island, and that will not happen either. Puerto Rico cannot be Independent, it has no resources to export and survive as an independent country. As long as the USA presence is there, Puerto Rico will be a Democratic country, just like the US of A, with the same currency, with essentially the same laws and Constitution, essentially the same "System" as we know it over in the Mainland USA. That's good for everybody, North Americans and Puerto Ricans alike, so just leave it alone and enjoy the island, that's what I always do, I enjoy the island for a month, then I leave them in their chaos and come back to the USA before it "sinks into the ocean".
Josie
 
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