By Kassi Berg

For the fourth time in the past 45 years, hospital the Puerto Rican electorate voted on whether to change its 114-year relationship with the United States.  And finally, in its November 2012 election, the referendum to become the 51st state of the U.S. passed.
While the measure to become a full US state requires the approval of the US Congress, President Barack Obama has said that he will respect the will of the Puerto Rican people should they vote in favor of statehood.
The island nation is currently a US territory, but its people do not have the right to vote in US elections.  If Puerto Rico became a state it would gain two seats in the U.S. Senate and five in the House of Representatives — a major upgrade from the one non-voting delegate that currently represents the territory.
Those who voted for Puerto Rico to become the 51st state said that it is because the island needs a lot more financial help.  Becoming a state would entitle them to nearly $20 billion dollars annually in federal funds –  something Puerto Rico could use, given its 13 percent unemployment rate.  On the other hand, two loopholes would close if they became the 51st state – the people and companies doing business there would have to pay US federal tax.