51st state? Puerto Rico voters approve statehood question

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) — For the first time, a majority of Puerto Ricans have voted in favor of statehood.

Tuesday's vote was nonbinding, but it marks a shift in attitude in the large Caribbean island, which has a unique relationship with the United States.

The island is currently a "Commonwealth", which means that residents of Puerto Rico and the 50 states may travel and move freely between the two areas, but Puerto Rico residents do not have to pay federal income taxes (though they do pay Social Security and other taxes), cannot vote in Presidential elections, and do not have voting representation in Congress.

The future of Puerto Rico is of great significance to many people in our area, as some communities in western Massachusetts have some of the highest percentages of Puerto Ricans outside the island itself.

On 22News at 6, reporter Shannon Halligan will explain why there has been a shift in attitude.

Copyright 2014 WWLP TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

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