Founders of the “New California” movement, Robert Paul Preston and Tom Reed, write on the campaign’s website that California is “a failed state” and that “citizens of California are living under a tyrannical form of government that does not follow the California and U.S. Constitutions.”
The campaign cites high taxes, and a decline in housing, health care, prisons, state parks, education, and “business climate,” among other things, in both high-density and rural areas as reasons for a division.
“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 told CBS Sacramento.
Unlike other, similar campaigns, this is not a secession; rather, proponents of New California want to create a brand new economy with a new constitution via Article IV, Section 3 of the United States Constitution.
That section, which is related to statehood, dictates that no new state within an existing one already in the union may be created “without the consent of the legislatures of the states concerned as well as of the Congress.”
The New California campaign most resembles the “Six Californias” initiative, which aimed to divide California into six regional states. That movement did not garner enough signatures to make it onto the 2016 ballot.
New California has little chance of succeeding, comparable to other campaigns to alter the makeup of California, but the group is nevertheless pushing forward and organizing meetings around the cause. On Monday, the group released a “Declaration of Independence” calling for “a free and Independent State” with “full power to establish and maintain law and order, to promote general prosperity.”
According to CBS Sacramento, representatives for New California say it will be 10 to 18 months before they’ll be ready to work with the current state’s legislature.