Travis H. Brown | Plan To Split California Into Six States Closer To Reality

Thanks to the signatures of more than 807,000 concerned Californians, an ambitious idea has moved that much closer to becoming a reality. The “Six Californias” Initiative, sponsored by Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper, seeks to create areas that are more governable, more productive, and more successful. As I wrote in this column back in February, the initiative would achieve the triumvirate goal of proportionately distributing California’s debts based on population, ending all tax collections and spending by the existing State of California, and creating new, more representative governments with the ability to enact public policies that make the most sense for the new state.

What some cynically called a “publicity stunt” will now be a question on the November 2016 ballot, and California voters would do well to take a close look at the potential advantages created by “Six Californias.” Based on analysis of nearly two decades’ worth of IRS taxpayer data, as well as data from the United States Census Bureau, we find that four of the six proposed new states would gain both net adjusted gross income and population. In fact, and contrary to scare-tactic claims by liberal media outlets, the new state of Central California (which would encompass the bankrupt cities of Stockton and Bakersfield) would see a net gain in AGI ($1.36 billion) and population (49,021 taxpayers).

The appeal of the “Six States” Initiative also lies in its allowance for governments that are smaller, and thereby more efficient and closer to their constituents. The new, individual states would share a number of common characteristics – including socioeconomic backgrounds, legislative needs, and political affiliation – thereby giving elected officials greater knowledge of what their constituents want and need.

Draper, a registered independent who has built a career on smart risk-taking and startup investing, views California as a borderline “failed state” with “the worst-managed government in the country.” Earlier this year, he raised an important point on the American Public Media program Marketplace, stating that California pays the most for education but ranks a dismal 46th in student test scores as measured by the U.S. Department of Education. This fact alone should alarm California taxpayers, whose top marginal state income tax rate is the highest in the nation, at 13.3 percent. Compare that to Texas, which levies no personal income tax on its residents, yet provides far superior educational outcomes. (By way of comparison: Texas students’ test scores are 29th highest out of 50, compared to California’s 46th. Plus, Texas employs 345 educators for every 10,000 of population, whereas California employs only 231 educators per 10,000 people.)


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