At least one wealthy tech investor wants to encourage California’s latent separatist tendencies and slice California into six different states, including one State of Silicon Valley. Per California law, no matter unlikely or odd a proposed ballot proposition is the Secretary of State and the Legislative Analysts Office release a report to voters on a bill’s potential economic impacts [PDF]. Usually, ballot proposition analysis is pretty dry, but making Silicon Valley it’s own state? This was one was a lot more interesting.
Here’s what California thinks could happen if voters approve Tim Draper’s proposition to split California into six states.
What California Would Like And The New Populations
Silicon Valley, comprised of San Jose, San Francisco and its cousin to the East, Oakland, would consist of approximately 6,000,000 citizens. “West California,” whose capital will be Los Angeles, would be the biggest state, with 11,000,000 residents.
The slicing and dicing would be directed by 12 commissioners, two from each state. Congress would have to approve it by 2019. If Congress’s current productivity is any indicator, we would need to get them the paperwork next week and then threaten to shut down California every month for the next 5 years to get any forward momentum.
Most Of The Rich People Would Move
Silicon Valley would become the richest state in all the Union, with a 63,288 average yearly income which would be enough to make a down payment on an apartment.
California would lose 28% of its income tax base ($14.5 billion) but the Valley would be a pretty nice place to live.
The Rest Of The State Would Need More School Funding
Silicon Valley requires almost half the state-aid per pupil as Central California ($3,031 vs. $5,321), partly because of high property taxes. The other states would either need to raise revenue, or enact a Hunger-games style competition to select which students received lunch.
Doctor! We Need A Lot Of Doctors!
The middle of the state has sufficient medical or law schools, which means they would need to be imported to train more residents. Silicon Valley also comprises about half the State’s share of Medi-Cal recipients. The federal government would need to allocate more resources to the needy residents. Alternatively, Silicon Valley could teach the poor residents to code, so that they can pay their super-sized medical bills.
Silicon Valley Would Need Water, Or Be Sponsored By Dasani
California has a torrid love-affair with water; frequent droughts and a complicated management system have always tentatively balanced each region’s needs. Silicon Valley may have money and talent, but it imports ~60% of its water needs. So, Silicon Valley could trade a few doctors and teachers for running water. Or, as most tech companies do, just snag a corporate sponsor.
The Road Ahead
There are also a few loose ends. Each state would need a new capital, pay a transition team, and figure out where to put prisoners. I presume Governor Larry Page would get to live out his life-long fantasy of a Burning Man-type experimental zone, and turn Oakland into a drug-induced rave for Googlers to run all sorts of experiments on. I’d live there if he also offered Google’s salad bar to the residents.