Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles In April 2015, Jeb Bush, visited Puerto Rico and reiterated his support for the island’s statehood. But not everyone is pushing for Puerto Rico to become the 51st star on the U.S. flag. So should Puerto Rico become a state? Well, Puerto Rico has been under U.S. control since the Spanish-American War in 1898. Puerto Ricans were granted U.S. citizenship and the ability to serve in the military. However, those who live on the island are unable to vote in presidential elections and do not pay federal taxes. However, the territory has its own government that is subject to the jurisdiction and sovereignty of the U.S.. Currently, Puerto Rico has a single non-voting delegate in Congress. So, what would happen if Congress voted to approve Puerto Rico’s statehood? First of all, they would have more power in the U.S. government, gaining two seats in the Senate and five in the House of Representatives. The island already benefits from billion of dollars a year in federal funds. But if it were to become a state, the U.S. would start collecting federal income and corporate taxes. A government report estimated that, if Puerto Rico had been a state in 2009, the U.S. would have received as much as $9 billion in income taxes. For many statehood critics, Puerto Rico’s financial baggage is a dealbreaker. The island is $73 billion in debt. When stacked up against the rest of the states, Puerto Rico’s per-capita GDP is comparable to Mississippi’s, which is the lowest in the country. Additionally, Puerto Rico suffers from an unemployment rate about double that of the United States. And more than one-third of the 3.6 million people on the island are reportedly on food stamps. But supporters of statehood believe more federal support will help lift the island out of poverty. So, what do Puerto Ricans want? In 2012, more than half of the population rejected the current commonwealth status. When asked a second question, 61% of voters preferred statehood. When it comes down to it, the push for statehood is about money. Right now, the federal government spends more than $20 billion per year to support Puerto Rico’s commonwealth status. Statehood opens the door for potential economic gains through federal taxation. However, some experts believe that Puerto Rico’s struggling economy and growing poverty might be too much for the federal government to take on. Sometimes, State and Federal governments can disagree, and it even comes down to the deployment of military forces. If you want to learn about how this can happen, check out our video here. Thanks for watching TestTube! If you want a reminder when we have new videos, please subscribe!