The proponent of a measure calling for California to be divided into three separate states can begin collecting signatures to put the initiative on the November 2018 ballot, California’s Secretary of State Alex Padilla said Tuesday.
The initiative was proposed by billionaire bit coin enthusiast Timothy Draper, who backed a failed — and widely teased — 2014 plan to carve up California into six states, the Los Angeles Times reported in August.
In Draper’s latest plan, the three states would be split into Northern California, California and Southern California.
Northern California would encompass almost the entire upper part of the state, including the Bay Area and Sacramento; California would include the Los Angeles area and extend along the coast through Monterey County; Southern California would include everything else, including Orange County, San Diego and Fresno, a map of the proposal showed.
Southern California would be the most populous of the three states, with 13.9 million residents, according to California’s Legislative’s Analyst’s Office. Northern California would have 13.3 million residents, while California would have 12.3 million.
According to the proposal, the reason behind the precise number of 3 states is that the current state of California has 39.5 million people, and Northern California — with the Bay Area as the center of technology — leading in per capita personal income levels across California.
In the current California, wealth is dispropotionately concentrated in the Bay Area, with the San Joaquin Valley being one of the poorest regions in the country.
With three states, income levels would also vary, but the Bay Area would still be among the wealthiest per capita income levels in the country (mainly in San Francisco and marin County).
Changes in the state’s higher education, water, prison, transportation, health and retirement and tax structure could lead to a healthier state, the proposal argues.
California’s existing state assets and liabilities would be divided among three new states, which would make their own decisions about state and local taxes and spending.
“The citizens of the whole state would be better served by three smaller state governments while preserving the historical boundaries of the various counties, cities, and towns,” Draper wrote in a statement of findings, according to the Times.
However, opponents argue that the plan would be detrimental and disruptive to residents.
“Creating three new governments three new legislatures, three new governors and then having to disrupt what we have as a state all our prison systems, our higher education systems,” political analyst Steven Maviglio told Bay Area television station KGO.
He added, “I think diversity is what makes California great and this would actually ruin it.”
The measure would require the governor to give formal notice of its approval to Congress by Jan. 1, 2019, and then give federal lawmakers 12 months to act upon the split.
The proposal has cleared its first hurdle, and now Draper can now begin collecting signatures to qualify for next year’s ballot.
But first, in order for the initiative to qualify for the November 2018 ballot, Draper must collect 365,880 signatures from registered voters within 180 days (by April 23, 2018), according to Padilla
What do you think about the proposed measure? Should California be split up into 3 states or left as is? Let us know in the comments below!