First Public Meeting for a new State…
The State of Jefferson Constitutional Committee held it’s first public hearing in Chico last night at the Butte County library. It was attended by a capacity crowd of about 160 people. The meeting was hosted by Casey Aplanalp (Chico) with the assistance of William Cross (Oroville). Michael Wacker, the Spokesperson for the Jefferson Committee in Butte County was featured on 6 o’clock news (Channel 12 TV). He was also one the many guest speakers at tonight’s public hearing that included Committee members JoAnn Alden and Art DeLaRosa from Oroville.
The event was held to explain why we need a 51st State and what the proposed legal process would be forming it. Wacker explained, the U.S. Constitution provides the process and to date there have been four states created from existing states.
Somewhere between 15-20 counties are eventually expected to participate in exploring the creation of a new State, so in each county a local committee will be formed to garner a consensus of public support before presenting the idea of Statehood to their respective Board of Supervisors for a vote.
At issue is unfair taxation without due representation. Because Northern California is so thinly populated when compared to Southern California, the issues that are unique and compelling to local residents always take a backseat to SoCal’s issues and of course that involves how our tax dollars are spent. The Committee pointed out that we’re all paying the same taxes, which are the highest in the nation, but our representation and effectiveness in Sacramento leaves much to be desired.
Aside from high taxation, some of the other issues pressing us for Statehood is how California has failed to strike a responsible balance between environmental concerns verses agricultural and general business needs and that has resulted in an exodus of jobs and lost revenue that has been especially hard on the North State’s economy.
The Jefferson movement notes that California may have the highest paid State legislature in the nation, but that doesn’t equate to the best results. For example, California schools that were once the best in the nation are now competing for last place with States like Arkansas and Oklahoma. Our highways that were once the model for efficient transportation are now suffering from years of deferred maintenance. Sacramento has also consistently failed to reform welfare to the point we now have the highest welfare population in the nation. Over 25% of the entire country’s welfare recipients are now living in this State and it’s stressing the State budget to the point it forces the legislature to take money from other pockets or demand more taxes. The Jefferson committee believes we can do better in a new State that has lower taxes, less regulation and more freedom.
”We need to bring government back to the people with fair taxation and honest representation. We see no other way to do that, except remove ourselves from California and form a new State focused on our needs and responsibilities.” said Mike Wacker. A member in the audience said, “There are 80 Assembly Districts in this State and only 6 Assembly districts represent Northern California. 74 to 6 are unfair odds in any game, especially politics.” Adding to this, “There’s your taxation without fair representation,” noted Mike Wacker, in a post meeting interview.
The audience was overwhelmingly in agreement with the idea of forming a new State to bring government closer to them in order to reduce the waste, fraud and abuse exemplified by California’s current legislature. However, the committee stress, that Statehood must follow an order of priorities and right now they are only posing the question, “Do you want to form a new State?” The indications so far are a resounding yes. Then at some point this question will be put on the Butte County Supervisors agenda for a formal vote. This process will be repeated in all the participating contiguous counties and then one of two options will occur. The counties could petition the State legislature directly or they could delegate one of the State representatives to introduce a bill for Statehood.
It would require 51% approve in Sacramento and then it would move to Washington where the House and Senate would be required to give a 51% approval. That’s it and while it may sound simple, the details to be worked out are quite complex. However, as Mike Wacker noted, “The questions before us may be complex, but that doesn’t mean the answers must be. There are any number of simple solutions for reaching an equitable agreement with the State of California. This is a very doable process and we owe to ourselves to at least consider Statehood as a viable option for managing the North State’s resources and politics.”
If there was a bottom line at tonight’s meeting it was this, the State of Jefferson is a non-partisan movement that is focused on fair representation, limited government leading to less taxation and maximum freedom.
It is expected there will be several more public meetings before the idea of Statehood is brought before the Butte County Supervisors.