The crisis has driven some Puerto Ricans into Mr. Rosselló’s camp. Erick Storer, 36, became a convert to the statehood movement when he was laid off three months ago from his job in the pharmaceutical industry. The sector had thrived here thanks to generous corporate tax breaks created by Congress in 1976.
But Congress began phasing out the breaks in 1996, and they disappeared in 2006 — one reason, experts say, the economy has taken such a hit. With no representation in Congress, residents like Mr. Storer have been left feeling as if they have little say in policy making.
“We’re part of it, and we’re not part of it, and I don’t like that,” said Mr. Storer, who drives for Uber to make ends meet.
Others warn that statehood will not be a panacea. Among other things, Puerto Ricans would have to give up their current exemption from federal income tax for income earned in the commonwealth.