Sunday, February 23, 2014

What would it take to split California into six states?

A venture capitalist named Tim Draper, who struck gold with his investments in Skype and Hotmail, proposed the initiative in December. Draper argues California's 38 million residents are stretching the state government too thin. (Via YouTube / EZebis) "Californians believe that California is ungovernable in its current state, and I think the idea of having six new Californias is sparking their imaginations." (Via Bloomberg)

Six Californias has been met mostly with skepticism in the media. A writer for The Huffington Post says the logistical fiasco of divvying up California will give most California voters cold feet at the ballot box. ​"Think of the thousands of business transactions that take place between Southern and Northern California each day. Many of those would now be between states, triggering federal regulation of interstate commerce. How many Californians would need to file two, three, or more state income tax returns every year? ... Draper's initiative is vulnerable to hundreds of political hits."

And the proposal faces an even greater struggle on the federal level. Getting Congress to radically reshape California—altering the balance of power in both the House and the Senate in the process—seems almost impossible in D.C's increasingly partisan and unproductive climate. (Via Pew Research Center)

A nonpartisan analysis by the state legislature didn't help Draper's proposal, noting splitting California creates an enormous economic disparity amongst the proposed new states. As a state, Silicon Valley would have the highest per-capita income in the U.S., while the new Central California would become the poorest state in the country.

That study lead an Imperial Valley Press writer to conclude Draper's Six Californias idea was just "a plan by the One Percenter plutocrats and tech moguls of Silicon Valley to trick interested voters into creating a digital Camelot, untouched by state regulations."


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