Governor Jerry Brown is proud of saying that California stands as the eighth largest economy in the world. It could move up dramatically if Scotland votes in a September 18th referendum to split away from the United Kingdom, currently the world’s sixth largest economy as measured by Gross Domestic Product. Then again, California would drop in the economic standings if voters agree to split the state into six separate states under a proposed initiative.
We should know tomorrow if the Six States initiative has enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. With the on-going random sample count of signatures, it certainly doesn’t look good for the initiative qualifying. A report on the Secretary of State’s website appears to indicate the signature count will fall short. However, as of this writing Los Angeles County has not yet reported. The largest number of signatures was turned in there and a strong validity rate of the L.A. random sample of signatures might push the sample signature count high enough to require a full count of every signature.
Those opposed to the measure were not taking any chances when it was announced last week that Fabian Nunez, the former state Assembly Speaker, would chair the campaign opposed to the Six States effort.
What kind of rhetorical battle we could see is presaged in the Scottish drive for independence. There will be arguments over the economic viability of the states and the question of how resources will be divided. The parallel is not exact, of course. In a Scotland-UK break-up, it would have to be decided how many nuclear subs go to each country, for example. In California, the portions of the state debt and state resources would have to be divided in a somewhat equitable fashion – if possible.
The Scotland debate is heating up. The value of the pound dropped dramatically when a poll showed independence winning but reversed when a new poll showed the Yes on Independence side falling behind – in part due to the economic markets’ reaction to the possibility that independence would be successful.
Sure, we are talking about splitting a country in two versus carving a state into six pieces, but in economic power there are many similarities between the United Kingdom and California.
Click the image below to take a look at the following sixty second clip prepared by the Telegraph news outlet in England to see projections of what might happen if Scotland succeeds and imagine what kind of campaign we will see in California if the six states measure qualifies for the ballot.