Splitting California in Half

There’s a proposal out there to split the state of California in half. The fifty-first state would be named South California and encompass the city of San Diego and conservative countries whereas Los Angeles, San Francisco and the more liberal northern parts of the state would continue to be governed from Sacramento.

The proposed fifty-first state would be the fifth largest by population in the union, more populous than Illinois, Ohio and Pennsylvania. South California would take nearly a third of the population away from California, making the Golden State the second largest after Texas.

Eleven of the thirteen proposed counties in South California traditionally vote Republican, a fact noticed by the office of Democratic Governor Jerry Brown. “If you want to live in a Republican state with very conservative right wing laws, then there’s a place called Arizona,” said a spokesman for the governor.

Of course, that’s part of what makes the federal system work—people and companies are able to move to states with laws that are more to their liking. It is why conservative states generally create more jobs while their workers are more productive.

Dan McLaughlin writes at the conservative blog RedState though that “saying that millions of residents should just leave the state if they don’t like California’s liberal laws, dysfunctional finances and horrendous business climate doesn’t really disprove the point that the Sacramento elite really and truly [does] not care about the Republican leaning parts of the state or the people in them.”

They should. California has among the highest unemployment rates in the nation and its worst fiscal crisis with a $26.6 billion deficit comprising nearly a third of the state’s budget. Little wonder that California has the worst credit rating of all states.

California is also one of the most business unfriendly of states. Last year, CNBC ranked it thirty-second but only because the state has Silicon Valley and easy access to capital. Hundreds of business leaders interviewed by Chief Executive ranked California fiftieth, citing its burdensome regulations and high taxes. Survey respondents uniformly said that the state’s regulators were hostile. “No one in his right mind would start a new manufacturing concern here,” according to one California CEO. What is more, the Golden State seems uniquely oblivious to the effect its labor and other regulations are having on innovation and technology firms. Job growth in the Valley has flatlined. Firms keep their headquarters there but pursue growth in friendlier states. Cisco, Google, Intel and other corporations are locating new plants in states ranging from North Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia and—wait for it—“very conservative” Arizona. Imagine that.