"Six Californias" Initiative (2014)
|Not on Ballot|
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will not appear on a ballot
Although Congress would ultimately make the decision about whether to divide the state into six states, and would also ultimately determine what the new boundaries would be and what the new states would be called, the Draper initiative proposes these names and divisions:
- Central California, which would include the counties of Alpina, Calaveras, Fresno, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Mono, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tulare and Tuolumne.
- Jefferson, which would include the counties of Butte, Colusa, Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Laasen, Mendocino, Modoc, Plumas, Siskiyou, Shasta, Tehama and Trinity.
- North California, which would include the counties of Amador, El Dorado, Marin, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, Sierra, Solano, Sonoma, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba.
- Silicon Valley, which would include the counties of San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Benito, Santa Cruz and Monterey.
- South California, which would include the counties of Imperial, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego.
- West California, which would include the counties of Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Los Angeles and Ventura.
Text of measure
- "Divides California into six states subject to approval by Congress. Assigns each county to a new state, unless county voters approve reassignment to different new state and second state approves. Establishes commission to settle California's financial affairs after division; upon failure to resolve, each new state would retain assets within its boundaries and would receive proportionate distribution of California's debts based on population. Authorizes counties to refuse to provide State-mandated programs and services absent sufficient State reimbursement. Empowers counties to make and enforce all laws governing local affairs."
Fiscal impact statement:
- "If the federal government approves the proposed creation of six new states, all tax collections and spending by the existing State of California would end, with its assets and liabilities divided among the new states. Decisions by appointed commissioners and elected leaders would determine how taxes, public spending, and other public policies would change for the new states and their local governments."
Initiative #13-0063 is sponsored by Timothy Draper. Draper, who invested in and contributed to the development of Skype, Baidu, Overture, and Hotmail, announced the launch of the initiative, saying, "We're simply too big and bloated." He also said that the current state government "is not cutting it for our schools, our businesses, our infrastructure or our people."
Arguments in favor
Timothy Draper listed five reasons for supporting "Six Californias" in Tech Crunch:
- "It is about time California was properly represented with Senators in Washington. Now our number of Senators per person will be about average.
- Competition is good, monopolies are bad. This initiative encourages more competition and less monopolistic power. Like all competitive systems, costs will be lower and service will be better.
- Each new state can start fresh. From a new crowd sourced state flower to a more relevant constitution.
- Decisions can be more relevant to the population. The regulations in one new state are not appropriate for another.
- Individuals can move between states more freely."
Timothy Draper has made other arguments in favor, including:
- "What I'm proposing here is to bring us closer to our government. We are all better off with more local government -- local government is more efficient, it's more effective, it represents us better."
- "The government always used to work for us. Over the last 15 to 20 years, I feel like the government is saying, ‘You’re working for me.’ We’ve gone from, in effect, a very free country to one where it’s moving toward, I guess it’s slavery… When you work for your government, when your government forces you to do something, it’s slavery. We need to take it back… I want (government) to be for the people. It’s starting to feel like it’s an ivory tower. There’s more and more control in the hands of people that are further and further from the decision."
- Joe Rodota, CEO and Founder, Forward Observer
- Robert Price, executive editor of The Bakersfield Californian
- Mary Buffett, author and Warren Buffett scholar
- Peter Scheer, lawyer and executive director of the First Amendment Coalition
Mary Buffett called the plan a "balkanized mess." She claimed to agree with Draper on the current problems he identified, but argued "you don't have to blow up California in order to solve it." She listed a few problems with the plan:
- "First, there is the issue of water. Without water distribution, California would quickly revert back to desert and grassland... However, under Draper's Plan, water intended for use in Los Angeles would have to pass through the states of "Jefferson," "North California," and "Central California" before it ever reached Los Angeles in the new state of "West California." What is to keep a new Governor of "Central California" or "North California" from diverting more water to local farmers and closing the spigot for Los Angeles? Nothing. Why? The new Governor of "Central California" will cater to the needs of his/her voters as opposed to any out-of-state concerns, like a thirsty Los Angeles."
- "Second, there is the case of higher education. If you lived in Oroville, Eureka, or Redding, your children are simply shut out of in-state tuition rates for the University of California system. Why? There are no UC campuses in Draper's State of "Jefferson..".. However, if you are fortunate enough to live in the new state of "Silicon Valley" you have a plethora of choices, paid for by residents from all of California, including the good people of Oroville, Eureka, or Redding. As a resident of the new state of "West California," I am rolling my eyes a bit because it's clear that this new fictional state of "Silicon Valley" gets the best deal while the rest of the of other California states get the short shrift."
- "Finally, taxes will inevitably rise. Instead of one state, where costs of government are spread over a population base of 38 million people, each of Draper's six states will have to create their own institutional functions of state government, from their own DMVs, the prison systems, state police and to everything in-between. While these new states will partially inherit legacy programs from the old State of California, each governor will have to create new command and control functions for everything that once radiated from Sacramento. That will cost money and nobody knows that amount. All we know is that somebody will have to pay for things."
Robert Price criticized the initiative as generating inequality, devastating revenues for public assistance programs and fragmenting an economic powerhouse:
- “Draper's home "state" of Silicon Valley (yes, that's what he suggests calling it) would become the wealthiest state in the U.S. -- and, freed from the obligations of propping up the likes of us here in the Valley, would no doubt grow richer still.”
- “The state of Central California, containing most of the Central Valley, including Bakersfield, Fresno, Stockton, the Sierra Nevada and the eastern desert, would be the poorest. And I don't mean just among these severed siblings; we'd be the poorest state in the nation, displacing Mississippi, and as such would be in line for perhaps $2,500 in per capita federal spending… We would almost certainly have the lightest tax burden of any state among the six, and possibly the lightest anywhere in the U.S., but without the support of the world's ninth-largest economy and its diversified muscle, we might have some trouble.”
Joe Rodota, the founder and CEO of Forward Observer, argued against the initiative:
- "Unlike venture capitalists, voters don't calculate risk. They seek to minimize it. And splitting the state into six pieces carries obvious and arguably insurmountable political risks."
- "Jefferson California, a new state to be comprised of counties in the far north, would have not one campus in the University of California system if split off from the rest of the state as proposed. Just how would a family from Redding or Chico feel about paying $36,000 in out-of-state tuition to send their son or daughter to UC Davis?"
- "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."
- "And how would the new state of Silicon Valley, which is a net importer of water, guarantee adequate water supplies to its residents and industries?"
Other arguments against the initiative include:
- Kevin Modesti of the Los Angeles Daily News said, "Draper argues that California’s diversity and size makes it ungovernable. But that’s letting the people who govern it, and the people who vote for those public officials, off the hook for their failures. Your city is a lot smaller and probably less diverse than the state, but is your city governed as well as it should be? Size isn’t the issue. If a public official can’t do the job unless he’s in a tiny, homogeneous state, he’s in the wrong line of work."
- Carlos Garcia of the Latin Post noted, "This comes at a time when a large number of corporations Silicon Valley corporations already hide their tax dollars overseas, thereby avoiding paying into the government at all. According to Bloomberg, the top ten corporate tax avoiders are tech companies: 1. Microsoft, $76.4 billion; 2. IBM, $44.4 billion; 3. Cisco Systems, $41.3 billion; 4. Apple, $40.4 billion; 5. Hewlett-Packard, $33.4 billion; 6. Google, $33.3 billion; 7. Oracle, $26.2 billion; 8. Dell, $19.0 billion; 9. Intel, $17.5 billion; 10. Qualcomm, $16.4 billion. This is consistent with the idea that people behind such an industry are not interested in paying taxes which the government could use to improve the lives of people in the poorer parts of California, which is one of the reasons given for dividing the state."
Legislative Analyst's Office
The Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO), in accordance with Section 9005 of the California Elections Code, filed a report detailing the fiscal effects on the measure's proposed state governments.
California’s income and property tax bases are heavily reliant on the Silicon Valley. With 17.8 percent of the population, Silicon Valley provides 24.3percent of the state’s total personal income tax revenue. Central California, on the other hand, has 11.0 percent of the population, but provides 8.0 percent of state’s total personal income tax revenue. The total average effective tax rate in both Central Valley and Jefferson is 3.0 percent versus 5.3 percent percent in Silicon Valley. The per capita assessed value property tax in Silicon Valley is $157,056 versus $78,141 in Central California. The study concludes that the Silicon Valley would have the highest income level, largest revenue from personal income, property and sales taxes, than any other proposed state. Central Valley and Jefferson would have the lowest of these variables with the other three states in between. These fiscal disparities would affect primary and higher education and public assistance.
The full report can be found here.
Path to the ballot
- Timothy Cook Draper submitted a letter requesting a title and summary on December 20, 2013.
- A title and summary was issued by the Attorney General of California's office on February 18, 2014.
- 807,615 valid signatures are required for qualification purposes.
- Supporters have until July 18, 2014 to collect the required signatures. Filing sufficient signatures by that date would not allow the initiative to compete on the November 4, 2014 ballot.
- The Secretary of State’s suggested signature filing deadline for the November 4, 2014 ballot was April 18, 2014.
Sponsor Tim Draper told the press in December 2013, "I'll make sure it gets on the ballot, so that Californians have a chance to make the decision."
- 2014 ballot measures
- California 2014 ballot measures
- Laws governing the initiative process in California
- San Diego Union-Tribune, "What would six California states look like?," April 11, 2014
- Silicon Beat, "Almost Enough Signatures For Ballot Initiative Breaking Up Golden State," March 26, 2014
- The Week, "Proponents of splitting California into 6 states are attempting to get on the 2016 ballot," June 23, 2014
- Contra Costa Times, "Tech investor Tim Draper launches 'Six Californias' ballot measure to divide the Golden State", December 23, 2013
- Washington Times, "‘Six Californias’ plan doable, could be on November ballot," February 4, 2014
- Tech Crunch, "Tim Draper Wants To Split California Into Pieces And Turn Silicon Valley Into Its Own State", December 19, 2013
- Willits News, "Tim Draper insists 'Six Californias' ballot measure is for real," February 25, 2014
- Sacramento Business Journal, "Tim Draper: Six Californias needed because government is 'moving toward slavery'," May 7, 2014
- Sacramento Business Journal, "Why six Californias is no laughing matter," April 3, 2014
- Huffington Post, "Six Californias Plan 'Deserves To Die A Quick Death,' Bipartisan Group Says," April 4, 2014
- San Jose Mercury, "Tim Draper insists 'Six Californias' ballot measure is for real," February 24, 2014
- Huffington Post, "Bad Break-Up: Keep California Together," February 19, 2014
- The Bakersfield Californian, "6 Californias? Nah, we're better as one," February 7, 2014
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- City Watch, "Ballot Measure to Divide CA Into 6 Mini-States Is Flawed … Smaller is Not Always Better," February 28, 2014
- Huffington Post, "Should California Be Split Into Six Smaller States? My Thoughts on Tim Draper's Idea," March 3, 2014
- Los Angeles Daily New, "The hidden genius in the ‘Six Californias’ initiative: Opinion," February 25, 2014
- Latin Post, "Is Tim Draper's 'Six Californias' Plan a Cash Grab for Silicon Valley and the Rest of the State's Wealthy? ," February 24, 2014
- California Legislative Analyst's Office, "Initiative Analysis: Six Californias," January 31, 2014