SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A group of Californians has filed paperwork to break away and form the nation’s 51st state.
It would be called “New California.”
“New California is a new state in development exercising its Constitutional Right to form from the State of California,” a press release from the group states. “The process to form New California is authorized and codified in Article IV Sections 3 & 4 of the United States Constitution.”
Supporters on Jan. 15 issued a “Declaration of Independence and Separation from the State of California” and on Jan. 19 filed a list of grievances against the Golden State. The main grievance according to group leader Robert Paul Preston is that California is “ungovernable.”
“Well, it’s been ungovernable for a long time,” Preston said in a CBS Sacramento interview. “High taxes, education, you name it, and we’re rated around 48th or 50th from a business climate and standpoint in California.”
Preston’s contention is that policies and laws designed for urban areas like Los Angeles will not work in rural regions such as San Benito County. His hope is that the state’s rural counties will join “New California.”
“There’s something wrong when you have a rural county such as this one, and you go down to Orange County which is mostly urban, and it has the same set of problems, and it happens because of how the state is being governed and taxed,” Preston said.
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Preston cited the large number of people leaving California as evidence that his movement is necessary. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated that the number of people leaving California exceeded those moving in by 142,932 in 2017, The Orange County Register reported. Outbound migration from California has increased by 11 percent since 2015.
New California is very much a work in progress. Even the map and geographic area of the proposed state are unknown.
Preston’s group is recruiting county coordinators who will try to get as many of California’s 58 counties as possible to join. Once that is done, New California will try to succeed using the process outlined by Article IV Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution. That section gives any geographic region the right to apply to Congress for statehood.
Preston estimated that it would take 10 to 18 months to form a New California movement and apply for statehood.
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