Is there anyone reading this who will raise their hand to say, "I love the way California currently is and has become"? I believe most folks reading this will not raise their hands. I was born and raised in California, and unless something drastically changes, I will not be staying here much longer.
The State of Jefferson movement is made up of people who believe the same: California over-taxes and over-regulates us, the citizens. California's government has become a government where the people work for the government, not the government working for the people. The State of Jefferson offers Northern California the hope that we can make a change to be less regulated, less taxed, and much more free to go about our business without government telling us what to do.
95% of the legislature represents central and southern California interests. With only 5% of the legislature representing our rural northern California interests, we cannot have a say in what happens to us. We are governed by city folks who do not know what rural life is like. For example, Jerry Brown approved a trial project to tax us on our miles driven. In Sierra County, the majority of people do not get mail delivered to their homes or businesses - therefore we have to drive, walk, or bike to a post office to get our mail. Those are miles that we in the rural areas will have to pay that city dwellers do not. Think about the commuters in L.A. - they may drive for an hour, but it could only be for 10 miles. Will they think about our plight when approving this program?
Because our legislators cannot make a difference in what the 95% are saying and doing, the rural communities have become impoverished. The laws and regulations made to govern the cities have consequently made it impossible for us in the rural areas to benefit from our timber, mining, ranching, recreation, and water resources. Our children and families are moving away, leaving the area to find jobs and prosperity that we currently cannot offer.
The State of Jefferson can change this! Is it legal to separate from southern California? Yes it is. Article 4, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution states we can do this with state and congressional approval. Is it actually doable? Yes it is! A financial analysis was done using the actual 2014/2015 budgets from 20 northern counties to show needed expenditures. Without sending this money to Sacramento, the northern counties are in fact viable on their own. The model shows a surplus of $7.5 billion dollars, without reducing the current expenditures: schools, roads, public safety, and infrastructure are paid for.
California has over 520 regulatory agencies. If the State of Jefferson were to even have half of those, we would be saving so much money! Without much of the regulations that limit our prosperity, our families would be able to return, and folks from around the country would be interested in moving here.
We need a state with fewer agencies, lower taxes, less bureaucracy, and more personal freedom. But for this freedom we need fair representation: 114 state representatives to 6 is not fair; 95% to 5% is not fair. And California cannot keep going as it is now; our legislators have tried working together with the 114 and there have been no changes.
Talk to your county representatives and ask them to support the State of Jefferson. Visit the website www.soj51.net and become educated to what this movement is trying to do. Together, we CAN make a change!
Julie Osburn - Sierra County Resident