Venture Capitalist Tim Draper, of the venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson, is the chief proponent of a plan for dividing California into six states. California Secretary of State, Debra Bowen, approved the proposed six-state-split petition by the venture capitalist on Tuesday.
California is home to over 38 million people, which would translate to the 8th largest economy in the world if considered its own country. Among the 38 million people, 807,615 registered voters would have to sign the petition for qualification on the state ballot. July 18 is the deadline for signature collections. The vote would happen in November 2016.
Draper is a tech investor recognized for his backing of Skype, Hotmail, and a handful of other acquired companies. His intelligent investments have carried him to billionaire status. The foundation for Draper’s plan is related to the size of the state. He considers California ungovernable by a singular Sacramento. Draper said, “it is more and more difficult for Sacrament to keep up with social issues from the various regions of California. With six Californias, people will be closer to their state governments and states can get a refresh.”
In the California venture capitalist’s six-state-split petition each of the new states would have a new name:
- South California consists of San Diego, Irvine, and Riverside.
- West California includes Los Angeles to north of San Luis Obispo.
- Central California ranges the desert region of Bakersfield, Fresno and Stockton.
- Silicon Valley claims San Francisco, Monterey, and San Jose.
- North California encompasses Sacramento and the wine area.
- Jefferson consists of Chico, Redding and Eureka.
Major remodeling like this will not be passed without opposition. The largest criticism is directed at the division of income as a result of state separation. Central California would become the poorest state in the country in terms of per-capita income. Currently in last place is Mississippi. As of the most recent report, Mississippi per capita income is at $19,977. Silicon Valley would become the wealthiest state moving ahead of Maryland. Maryland has a per capita income of $36,775. As one state, California is ranked 12 in per capita income.
Draper lives in Atherton making him a resident of the Silicon Valley state. He believes, “every one of the states will become wealthy as a result.” Bowen released a statement with concern related to taxes, “all tax collections and spending by the existing State of California would end, with its assets and liabilities divided among the new states.”
Complications could ensue at the Federal level. Assuming the vote passes at the state level, Congress would review the measure before final approval of the bill. This would be the first time Congress has split up a defined state. Precedent is not available for restructuring tax collection and spending from one state into six new states.
Bowen continued in her statement, “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.” David Carillo, executive director at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, and Nate Persily, Stanford Law School professor, separately concluded that Draper’s plan will not happen.
Carillo said, “One could wonder whether Congress would look favorably on adding five new stars to Old Glory.” Coincidentally, Draper’s own home state of Silicon Valley would have the highest per capita income in the country. However, chances are the proposed California six-state-split petition by one lone venture capitalist will likely not happen.
By Niles Olson