RIVERSIDE – The Riverside County Board of Supervisors endorsed Supervisor Jeff Stone’s plan to bring together city and county officials from across California to discuss state budget issues and governance problems that hurt local government services and business development.
Almost two weeks ago, Supervisor Jeff Stone suggested a plan to gather officials from at least 13 counties and discuss seceding from California to create a 51st state, the State of South California.
On Tuesday, Stone modified his proposal to the Board of Supervisors. The supervisor said he envisioned a summit in September or October where city and county officials could discuss issues such as convening a constitutional convention to address state budget problems and cutting seats in the state Legislature from full-time to part-time status. Stone told Board members he wanted to leave secession on the agenda for the proposed meeting as a topic that could be broached if other solutions do not emerge.
Board members acknowledged Stone’s frustration with state budget decisions and other actions that have continuing detrimental effects on communities in Riverside County and other areas of the state. Board members voted 4-0 with the requirement that no Riverside County staff or funds be used as part of Stone’s effort to hold a meeting for city and county officials statewide.
Almost two weeks ago, Stone suggested that about a dozen counties – from San Diego to Mono – be asked to consider the split to establish a new state with a balanced budget, secure borders, effective schools and a vibrant economy. In proposing the new state, Stone criticized California’s legislature and governor for approving a budget that financially endangers four new cities in Riverside County and tries to solve the state’s budget mess by taking funds from all local governments.
Stone suggested the counties of Riverside, Imperial, San Diego, Orange, San Bernardino, Kings, Kern, Fresno, Tulare, Inyo, Madera, Mariposa and Mono be asked to consider forming the State of South California. Boards of supervisors and city councils within those counties would be invited to meet and discuss the feasibility of secession from California. Stone suggested that a new state might do away with term limits, actually enforce the state’s borders, and adopt reasonable sales taxes and a provision like Proposition 13 that would control property taxes. Counties and cities interested in the proposal, including those Stone has not already identified, would be invited to sit down and discuss the proposal.
Riverside Supervisor Jeff Stone to detail cessation plan
RIVERSIDE – Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone today will detail his reasons for wanting the county and a dozen neighboring counties to break away and form the new state of South California.
Stone filed a five-page memorandum on the Board of Supervisors’ agenda for consideration, enumerating what actions he says should be taken to create America’s 51st state.
The supervisor prefaced his de-annexation ”action plan” with a description of things that have, in his opinion, been going wrong in California and pushing the state closer to financial ruin.
Stone cited a survey showing that California is ranked dead last in business-friendliness nationally, and he named a number of companies that he said have moved operations outside the state to escape high taxation and regulation, including Fluor Corp., Intuit, Nissan North America and USAA Insurance.
”As a result of these thousands of jobs leaving our state, those citizens waiting for this economic cycle to turn are in for a very big disappointment,” the supervisor wrote. ”It has been estimated that many businesses can relocate to Texas and expect to save 20 to 40 percent! What will remain here is a ‘welfare state.”’
Stone, a pharmacist who owns several businesses, said ”duplicative” state and federal environmental regulations and high personal and corporate income taxes drive away entrepreneurs.
He maintains that the state’s unfunded public pension liabilities — which a Stanford University study last year estimated as high as $500 billion — are unsustainable and will only worsen as lawmakers and the governor cater to union interests.
According to Stone, state taxpayers are footing the bill for medical and welfare services for illegal immigrants and subsidizing their college tuition while legal residents pay their own way.
The supervisor described California as ”too big to govern,” a laggard in K-12 education, with one-third of the nation’s welfare recipients and only 12 percent of its population. He decried the state’s raids on funds designated for infrastructure improvements and local programs — without resolving multi- year budget shortfalls.
”It is time to take corrective and decisive action,” he said.
Under the supervisor’s proposal, Riverside, Fresno, Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Mono, Orange, San Bernardino, San Diego and Tulare counties would form a new state.
Stone envisions a part-time legislature, with lawmakers meeting for three months every two years — like Texas — and earning $600 per month instead of $400 per day. He said South California’s constitution should include a balanced budget provision and property tax protections, akin to those guaranteed under Proposition 13.
There would be no subsidies for illegal immigrants, no legislative term limits, and an emphasis on automating many government functions.
Reactions to the proposals have been mixed.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s press secretary, Gil Duran, told City News Service that Stone was engaging in a ”monumental waste of taxpayer dollars. …It’s clearly a joke.”
But Assemblyman Brian Nestande, R-Palm Desert, found merit in some of Stone’s ideas. ”We’ve got a state now that is literally unmanageable,” he said.
Stone is seeking the board’s approval for the Executive Office to call a conference at the Riverside Convention Center and invite representatives from all of the counties and cities proposed in the new state to debate the issue and its ramifications.