It's part of an archipelago, with one big island and lots of smaller ones. Sure, it gets some hurricanes (like the rest of the gulf area) but it enjoys a great tropical climate.
All Puerto Ricans are United States Citizens. It is under the direct control of the United State Congress.
You don't like federal tax? Well, as a resident of Puerto Rico, you don't pay US Federal Income tax - and you still get federal money.
You keep most (but not all) Constitutional rights. Specifically, you get freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the the press, assembly (protest), due process in court, unreasonable search and seizure (they need a warrant)
So, what do you give up by moving to Puerto Rico?
- You can vote in a primary presidential election, but not in the actual Presidential election. If you maintain a house back in a state, then you could vote in absentee - but that might make you subject to the federal income tax.
- You MAY give up the right to have an abortion. Article 99 of the Puerto Rican Penal Code states that abortions (except to save the life or health of the mother) is punishable by two years. Note, this goes against the Puerto Rico's supreme court ruling in 1980 case Pueblo v. Duarte.(Source), but no court has invalidated it, yet (Source). Their has been only one abortion reported in Puerto Rico since 2007 - and that was by a citizen that left the country and got it outside of Puerto Rico (Source). But most people believe that others are getting abortions and not reporting them.
- You lose some gun rights. No Second amendment (they had an attempted revolt back int he 50's.) You do have the right to own guns and keep it in your house (with bullets). But transporting it requires the gun be unloaded (with empty magazines). Concealed carry, loaded with a permit only - no open carry. Ownership costs $400, shooting range permit costs $50 and concealed carry costs $1000 - all are 5 year licenses.(source)
- You don't have to pay Federal income taxes (you still pay social security taxes). You do pay taxes to Puerto Rico, just as you have to pay state taxes. Granted their Puerto Rico taxes are closer to federal rates than states, but you still come out ahead (i.e. in the states you pay Federal + state taxes, while in Puerto Rico you pay PR taxes that are about equivalent to Federal but no state tax equivalents).
- You give up the right to obtain Supplemental Security Income (an add on to Social Security for the poor that are either old, blind or disabled). You still get Social Security, but not the Supplemental stuff.
- You give up most medicaid benefits (PR gets 15% of the medicaid money it would if it was a state) and your doctors get less medicare money (mainly because healthcare is cheaper in P.R.than the US)
So why don't conservatives move to Puerto Rico?
Well, without all that federal 'entitlement' spending, Puerto Rico ends up as DIRT POOR(Source). Over 80% of children live in high poverty areas (vs. 11% in the US). Simultaneously, only 56% of Puerto Ricans children are actually poor, while 22% of the US children are poor.
Stop and think about those two sets of numbers. First,it means that 24% of Puerto Rican children are not poor, but live in high poverty areas - even the middle class kids live next to or in a slum. Second it means that 11% of US children that are poor live in wealthy neighborhoods - even the poor kids live in middle class neighborhoods. But back to Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico is not as nice a place to live. These poor areas don't have sewage systems - the waste sits in canals - that over flow on rainy days. You don't have high end stores, the areas are not wired for electricity and internet, the roads are not as nice.
Why is Puerto Rico like this? Well, that's what you get if you get rid of 'big government spending'.
P.S. Puerto Rico is voting this month - August, 2012 to ask Congress to become a state or remain as a commonwealth. Even if they decide to become a state, they need approval from the US Congress to do it.