by Gus Portela
This week, Puerto Rico’s representative in Congress, Resident Commissioner Jenniffer Gonzalez (R-PR), introduced a bill to make the territory a state no later than January 1, 2021. The Puerto Rico Admission Act of 2018 already has 37 co-sponsors, including Republicans and Democrats from various states. The bill comes after major events like Hurricanes Irma and Maria caused more than $90 billion worth in damages, making it the third costliest storm in U.S. history.
The reality is, there’s only one path forward to address Puerto Rico’s current status: Statehood. Statehood would allow the island’s struggling economy to grow past a decade-long recession by allowing the territory the ability to pay down its debts and liabilities. Additionally, statehood would give investors new confidence in the future of Puerto Rico, which in turn would help advance the island’s economy. Even under Puerto Rico’s recent conditions of high debt combined with a shrinking economy, the Government Accountability Office estimated that Puerto Rican corporate and individual taxpayers would contribute an additional $6 to $10 billion in taxes to the United States government.