Venture Capitalist Tim Draper's plan to divide California into six states (including one just for Silicon Valley) got the OK to move forward from California Secretary of State Debra Bowen this week, despite the fact that it would simultaneously create the nation's richest and poorest states.
Should you start to worry? Not yet. As KPIX5 points out, the go-ahead from Sacramento only means that the initiative is now free to start collecting signatures. Draper and crew will need 800,000 John Hancocks from across the state before their initiative becomes a full-blown ballot measure. Even in the unlikely event that California voters actually see fit to divvy up the state into six smaller pieces, the hurdles at the federal level would be substantial. As Secretary of State Bowen noted earlier this week, the plan would require approval from Congress, followed by the messy ordeal of halting all tax collection and spending across the state until the six new governments could be set up.
But that's all moonshot hypotheticals at this point. Even though the initiative still has a long way to go before the "Vote Yes on Six Californias" yard signs start showing up all through Menlo Park, the plan has already drawn criticism from the state legislation for its detrimental impact. According to a report from the California Legislative Analyst's Office, the Silicon Valley state (which would include San Francisco and the peninsula down to Monterey, as well as Alameda and Contra Costa counties) would have the highest per-capita income in the country. That honor would come at the expense of the newly created Central California, which would just become a flyover state for the Hyperloop when it slides below Mississippi as the poorest state in the country in terms of per-capita income.