TABLE OF CONTENTS
What is the Calexit referendum?………………………………………….03
The case for independence in 9 simple points……………………..06
Is an independence referendum even legal?………………………..10
What are the overlying principles?……………………………………….11
What type of government will we have?………………………………..13
How will this impact our economy?………………………………………14
How will this impact our budget?………………………………………….16
What about all the debt we have?………………………………………..18
Will we have our own currency?…………………………………………..20
What about Medicaid?…………………………………………………………20
What about Medicare and Social Security?…………………………..21
What about our water and agriculture?………………………………..22
What about money for roads and highways?………………………..25
What about funding for education, Pell Grants, etc.?…………….26
How will we defend ourselves?…………………………………………….27
Will we join the United Nations?…………………………………………..28
Will we join the International Criminal Court?……………………….28
Will we be a member of the Group of Eight (G8)?………………….28
What about other intergovernmental organizations?…………….29
Will we have our own Olympic team?……………………………………29
Will I need a passport or a visa to visit the United States?…….30
What about embassies and consulates?………………………………31
Summary of points……………………………………………………………..32
YESCALIFORNIA.ORG Page 3
In the Spring of 2019, Californians will go to the polls in a historic vote to
decide by referendum if California should exit the Union, a #Calexit vote.
You will have this historic opportunity because the Yes California
Independence Campaign will qualify a citizen’s initiative for the 2018 ballot
that if passed would call for a special election for Californians to vote for or
against the independence of California from the United States.
This is a very important question. It is the responsibility of this campaign to
explain what a yes vote will mean for you, your family, your community, our
state, our country, and our world. We have designed this booklet to answer
many of these questions and look to you to ask more.
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As the sixth largest economy in the world, California is more
economically powerful than France and has a population
larger than Poland. Point by point, California compares and
competes with countries, not just the 49 other states.”
In our view, the United States of America represents so many things that
conflict with Californian values, and our continued statehood means
California will continue subsidizing the other states to our own detriment,
and to the detriment of our children.
Although charity is part of our culture, when you consider that California’s
infrastructure is falling apart, our public schools are ranked among the worst
in the entire country, we have the highest number of homeless persons
living without shelter and other basic necessities, poverty rates remain high,
income inequality continues to expand, and we must often borrow money
from the future to provide services for today, now is not the time for charity.
However, this independence referendum is about more than California
subsidizing other states of this country. It is about the right to selfdetermination
and the concept of voluntary association, both of which are
supported by constitutional and international law.
It is about California taking its place in the world, standing as an equal
among nations. We believe in two fundamental truths: (1) California exerts a
positive influence on the rest of the world, and (2) California could do more
good as an independent country than it is able to do as a just a U.S. state.
In 2016, the United Kingdom voted to leave the international community
with their “Brexit” vote. Our “Calexit” referendum is about California joining
the international community. You have a big decision to make.
YES CALIFORNIA IS HERE TO HELP.
YESCALIFORNIA.ORG Page 5
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THE CASE FOR INDEPENDENCE IN 9 SIMPLE POINTS
Being a U.S. state is no longer serving California’s best interests. On issues
ranging from peace and security to natural resources and the environment,
it has become increasingly true that California would be better off as an
independent country. Here’s a summary of why we think so.
1. PEACE AND SECURITY
The U.S. Government spends more on its military than the next several
countries combined. Not only is California forced to subsidize this massive
military budget with our taxes, but Californians are sent off to fight in wars
that often do more to perpetuate terrorism than to abate it. The only reason
terrorists might want to attack us is because we are part of the United
States and are guilty by association. Not being a part of that country will
make California a less likely target of retaliation by its enemies.
2. ELECTIONS AND GOVERNMENT
California’s electoral votes haven’t affected a presidential election since
1876. On top of that, presidential election results are often known before
our votes are even counted. So, why should we keep subjecting ourselves
to presidents we play no role in electing, to 382 representatives and 98
senators we can’t vote for, and all the government officials and federal
judges appointed by those very same people we don’t elect.
3. TRADE AND REGULATION
The U.S. Government maintains a burdensome trade system that hurts
California’s economy by making trade more difficult and more expensive
for California’s businesses. As long as California remains within this
burdensome trade system, we will never be able to capitalize on the
trade and investment opportunities that would be available to us as an
independent country. On top of that, the United States is dragging California
into the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement which conflicts with our values.
YESCALIFORNIA.ORG Page 7
4. DEBT AND TAXES
Since 1987, California has been subsidizing the other states at a loss of
tens and sometimes hundreds of billions of dollars in a single fiscal year.
As a result, we are often forced to raise taxes and charge fees in California,
and borrow money from the future to make up the difference. This is partly
why California presently has some of the highest taxes in the country, and
so much debt. Independence means that all of our taxes will be kept in
California based on the priorities we set, and we will be able to do so while
repaying our debts and phasing out the current state income tax.
California is the most diverse state in the United States and that is
something we are proud of. This diversity is a central part of our culture
and an indispensable part of our economy. As a U.S. state, our immigration
system was largely designed by the 49 other states thirty years ago.
This immigration system has since neglected the needs of the California
economy and has hurt too many California families. Independence means
California will be able to decide what immigration policies make sense for
our diverse and unique population, culture, and economy, and that we’ll be
able to build an immigration system that is consistent with our values.
6. NATURAL RESOURCES
Certain minerals and other natural resources like coal, oil, and natural gas
are being extracted from California at below market value rates by private
corporations with the permission of the U.S. Government. While a small
portion of the revenue is shared with us, our share has been withheld during
times of sequestration. That means the U.S. Government is paying their
debts with royalties collected from selling off California’s natural resources.
Independence means we will gain control of the 46% of California that is
currently owned by the U.S. Government and its agencies. We will therefore
take control of our natural resources and be the sole beneficiary of royalties
collected if and when they are extracted from our lands.
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7. THE ENVIRONMENT
California is a global leader on environmental issues. However, as long
as the other states continue debating whether or not climate change is
real, they will continue holding up real efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
The truth is this country accounts for less than five percent of the world’s
population yet consumes one-third of the world’s paper, a quarter of the
world’s oil, 27 percent of the aluminum, 23 percent of the coal, and 19
percent of the copper. Independence means California will be able to
negotiate treaties to not only reduce the human impact on our climate but
also to help build global resource sustainability.
8. HEALTH AND MEDICINE
The Affordable Care Act was enacted by the U.S. Government to lower the
cost of health care and expand health insurance coverage to the uninsured,
yet millions of Californians still lack access to quality health care because
they can’t afford it. For many, access to hospitals and medicine is a life or
death issue. Independence means we can fund the health care programs we
want and ensure everyone has access to the medicines they need because
our taxes will no longer be subsidizing other states. Finally, California can
join the rest of the industrialized world in guaranteeing health care as a
universal right for all of our people.
California has some of the best universities but in various ways, our schools
are among the worst in the country. Not only does this deprive our children
of the education they deserve, but it also costs taxpayers billions in social
services and law enforcement expenses linked to lacking opportunities
resulting from poor education. Independence means we will be able to fully
fund public education, rebuild and modernize public schools, and pay public
school teachers the salaries they deserve. On top of that, independence
means freedom from federal education policies and one-size-fits-all
standards set by political appointees on the other side of the continent.
YESCALIFORNIA.ORG Page 9
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IS AN INDEPENDENCE REFERENDUM EVEN LEGAL?
The Constitution says that each state in the Union shall retain every
power which is not by the Constitution given to the federal government.
The Constitution does not give the power of secession to the federal
government, nor does it expressly prohibit the states from exercising this
power. Therefore, the power of secession is reserved to the states, or to the
people, per the Tenth Amendment.
Further, the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution says that treaties ratified
by Congress are the supreme law of the land. In 1945, the United States
ratified the UN Charter, a treaty that guarantees peoples the right to selfdetermination
in Article I. Thus, by ratifying this treaty, the United States
adopted the right of self-determination as the supreme law of our land.
Lastly, Aristotle wrote that the state “is a culmination of widening circles of
human association based on human wants,” and that it is “the highest form
of human association.” Why is this important?
It is important because in 1948, the United Nations adopted its Universal
Declaration of Human Rights. Article 20 of that Declaration provides that
“No one may be compelled to belong to an association.” This campaign
takes the position, as Aristotle argued, that the state is an association and
therefore we Californians may not be compelled to belong to the State, or
the country, that is the United States of America.
Regardless, if the original 13 American colonies didn’t pursue their
independence from the British Empire because King George and the
government in London said they had no right to do so, then this country
wouldn’t exist today. Therefore, when a government says to its people that
they have no right to seek their independence, history shows us that has not
deterred the cause of freedom or self-determination.
YESCALIFORNIA.ORG Page 11
WHAT ARE THE OVERLYING PRINCIPLES?
Most of the time, California doesn’t get the national government we choose.
We have voted for a Democratic majority in both chambers of the California
Legislature since 1971 and have elected Democrats to the U.S. Senate since
1992. Clearly California leans left but by the time of the 2016 election we
will have had a Republican-controlled House for 19 out of the last 24 years
and a Republican-controlled Senate for 15 out of the last 24 years.
Whether you support the Democrats or the Republicans, this system denies
us the national government we vote for. The simple truth is that 88% of the
U.S. population is not from California, and that means in practice all these
non-Californians decide what national government California gets.
Most of the time (roughly six years in every 10, for the last three decades
dating back to the mid-1980s) that has been a government Californians
rejected at the ballot box. We believe California should be a country, so that
we can get the national government we vote for every time – not just when it
happens to coincide with what 49 other states want.
When we don’t get the Senate we vote for, it doesn’t just impact the laws
they enact that we must then adhere to, or the budget they pass that we
must then live with. It also affects which judicial nominees are confirmed to
the bench with the power to declare California’s laws unconstitutional. This
happens more than you think and although we maintain the right to appeal
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to a higher court, the Supreme Court reverses more decisions from the 9th
Circuit Court based in San Francisco than any other Circuit Court system
in the country. In 2010, the American Bar Association gave California’s
9th Circuit Court the lowest grade of all “numbered” Circuit Courts with a
C- average, pointing out that some 80% of its decisions were reversed or
vacated by the Supreme Court.
Independence isn’t about policies or parties. Those are questions which will
be decided at future elections, not by this independence referendum. All you
have to decide is who should choose the future governments Californians
live under: the people of California, or the people of the 49 other states?
Q: “But won’t we be abandoning the US to permanent right-wing control?”
A: No. Without California, every single president elected since 1880 would still
have been elected, and even though there have been 84 Congressional elections
since California became a state in 1850, the balance of power in the House of
Representatives and the Senate would have only been different three and four
times, respectively. And remember, California already does not get to vote for
382 of the 435 members of the House or for 98 of the 100 members of the
Senate so our impact on the composition of the House and Senate is very minimal
regardless of our economic strength and population.
On top of that, the US is a center-right country. A recent Gallup poll showed
that just 21% of Americans identify as liberal – and that’s with California in the
equation. Conservatives are the largest ideological group, at 38% nationwide.
So an argument could be made that we wouldn’t be abandoning the rest of the
US to right-wing governments, we would be making it easier for them to have the
governments they want, too. A win-win!
YESCALIFORNIA.ORG Page 13
WHAT TYPE OF GOVERNMENT WILL WE HAVE?
When California becomes an independent country, or perhaps during the
process of becoming an independent country, the people of California will
choose the type of government system we want to have. Will we have a
democratic-republic like the United States with a president and a bicameral
legislature, or will we establish for ourselves a parliamentary republic with
a prime minister and a parliament? Possibly, with all our ingenuity and
imagination, we can craft an entirely unique system of governance.
However, these are questions to be decided by future elections, not by
this independence referendum. While it is a very important question, this
referendum is only asking whether or not you think California should become
an independent country. It does not declare California’s independence from
the United States, nor does it establish any new system of government. It
does not remove any elected official from office, nor does it take away your
U.S. citizenship. In short, the referendum is a way to gauge the sense of the
people on whether we Californians prefer the status quo of statehood, or if
we want to see a change towards nationhood.
Voting yes on the referendum is essentially voting yes to reform our system
of government as well as our political and elections process to:
• guarantee a more responsible and responsive government;
• move away from a two-party system;
• reduce the influence of big money in elections;
• restore the principle of one person, one vote;
• establish a system of proportional representation; and,
• engage disenfranchised voters
These are goals Californians and others are currently fighting for, yet under
the corrupt U.S. political system, they are unlikely to be achieved.
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HOW WILL THIS IMPACT OUR ECONOMY?
The economy is such an important part of this debate. The choices that the
country of California makes, and whether those choices will be easier or
harder than those faced by the state of California, will greatly depend upon
how much money is available.
For that reason, the United States Government and California’s critics
desperately want you to believe that California would be poorer as an
independent country, be greater in debt, and that it would therefore have to
raise taxes even more to make ends meet.
But that simply isn’t true. In fact, it’s not even close – California is a donor
state which means that we have been subsidizing many of the other states
with our federal taxes. This has been happening for decades now and we
lose generally tens and sometimes hundreds of billions of dollars in a single
year because of this.
For example, the Federal Government’s own figures show in 2014, the last
year for which data is available, that Californians collectively paid $369.2
billion in federal taxes and received federal payouts totaling approximately
$355.8 billion. That’s a loss of more than $13.5 billion in a year when
California was still working its way out of the recession.
Since 1995, California has lost about $16 billion each year. To put that in
perspective, California’s entire state budget in 2014 was $156 billion. So
when we talk about how much money is available in our budget, California as
an independent country would have about 10% more without any additional
taxes and before adjusting our budget priorities.
By keeping all the taxes you pay in California, we will be on our way to budget
YESCALIFORNIA.ORG Page 15
surpluses instead of deficits. By remaining part of the United States, not only
will the 49 other states ensure that we keep subsidizing them but California
will always be in debt, will always be forced to borrow money that puts us
deeper into debt, and will always have a massive national debt hanging over
our heads. Today that national debt is over $19 trillion.
In short, we pay the highest taxes, we have been subsidizing the other states
at an average loss of about $16 billion a year since 1995, and California is
hundreds of billions of dollars in debt. Had California been an independent
country since the 1980s when we started subsidizing other states, we
would have had $120 billion more available to us since that time and would
not have had to accumulate so much debt, or raise taxes so much. So the
question you have to decide is who should receive the taxes Californians pay
every year: the people of California, or the people of the 49 other states?
QUESTION ? Q: “But isn’t the US government spending more per person in California?”
A: No. In FY 2015 federal spending in California was $6,452 per person, lower
than the national average of $6,649. That may not seem like a lot but there’s
more than 39 million people in California. It’s been worse. For example, federal
spending in California per person was $800 below the national average in FY
2014 and $994 below the national average in FY 2013.
Q: “But what about US government spending as a percent of California’s GDP?”
A: The State of California actually researched this in 2015. They found that
federal funding is equivalent to less than 16 percent of California’s statewide
economic activity, which is lower than the national average of 19 percent.
Mentioning California’s GDP brings up another important point, though: Did you
know California’s economy is now the 6th largest in the world? California is more
economically-powerful than France.
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HOW WILL THIS IMPACT OUR BUDGET?
Independence will stop the United States from using our taxes to subsidize
other states. However, returning California’s taxes to California’s budget
represents only a portion of the fiscal benefit of independence.
When California is an independent country, every dollar in federal taxes you
pay will be sent to Sacramento instead of to the U.S. Government. This will
not only keep your taxes in California, but it will also dramatically increase
the size of California’s budget by hundreds of billions of dollars.
As independent country, however, California will assume much more
responsibility and therefore have a range of budget items from Social
Security to national security that we will be responsible to fund with that
budget each year. This is where a substantial fiscal opportunity arises for
us to align our budget priorities with our values as Californians, and thereby
secure the funds we need to invest in the healthcare, education, and
infrastructure programs we can afford only through independence.
Take national security for example. In 2015, the U.S. Government dedicated
more than half of all discretionary spending on its military. In dollars, that
means they spent nearly $600 billion on its military that year, about 16%
of the entire $3.8 trillion national budget, and over three percent of the
nation’s Gross Domestic Product.
If California as an independent country spent 16% of its annual budget, or
over three percent of our Gross Domestic Product on military defense, not
only would that conflict with our values as peace-loving Californians, and not
only would it be a massive waste of tax dollars, but it would frankly render
this campaign largely unnecessary and even unworkable.
One of the benefits of independence is the ability to spend less on weapons
YESCALIFORNIA.ORG Page 17
of war and more on education, healthcare, infrastructure, and other quality
of life issues that matter to the people of California in their daily lives.
Spending three percent of California’s $2.46 trillion Gross Domestic Product
(or 16% of our annual budget) on military defense would give us a military
defense budget of about $70-80 billion a year.
Why spend $70-80 billion a year to maintain a military apparatus in North
America where Canada defends itself with just $18 billion a year? Israel’s
military defense costs them $18 billion a year, too. In fact, California
spending even $70 billion a year on defense would afford us a military larger
than Russia’s – and Russia is 40 times larger than California.
By reducing military expenditures while adequately providing for our defense,
we will have about $50 billion more a year on top of the billions we retain
by the ending subsidies we pay to other states. Combined, this is about
$75 billion a year – and that’s after we fund the military! So all you need to
decide is how you want that money spent: improving your quality of life, or on
subsidies to other states and a bloated military budget?
QUESTION ? Q: “But if we spend less on the military, won’t we be invaded by another country?
A: California doesn’t pose a threat to any other country so there would be no risk
to California of being attacked by another country.
On top of that, this is the 21st Century. Unless you’re the Americans, countries
typically don’t amass armies, cross oceans, and invade other countries anymore.
The risks of the 21st Century come from non-state actors like terrorists, or through
economic or cyber warfare, not from conventional armies arriving at our shores
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WHAT ABOUT ALL THE DEBT WE HAVE?
California has amassed over $400 billion in state debt – a figure that
is growing everyday and represents about 17 percent of California’s
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and slightly more than $11,000 for every
Californian. As bad as these figures seem, they are much better than those
for the United States as a whole where the national debt is over $19.5
trillion (and growing), or 105% of GDP, and nearly $60,000 per citizen.
During the transition from statehood to nationhood, California will agree to
assume its share of the U.S. national debt on a per capita basis. This will
reduce the national debt by nearly $2.4 trillion for the United States but
California’s exit also means the overall GDP of the United States will fall by
$2.46 trillion. Thus, although its national debt will fall to $17 trillion, the
debt-to-GDP ratio of the United States will rise to 110% of GDP.
At the same time, California’s exit will raise our debt to $2.79 trillion.
However, since California has paid approximately $120 billion more in
federal taxes than we have received in federal funding since 1981, we will
obtain a credit from the United States in that amount, reducing our total
debt from $2.79 trillion to approximately $2.67 trillion. Compared to our
sixth-largest-in-the-world economy, that means California’s national debt will
be about 108% of GDP, similar to the debt-to-GDP ratio in Belgium and two
points lower than in the United States under this scenario.
Honestly, these are not great numbers for California to deal with as a newly
independent country. However, the point to stress here is that California’s
current debt is just 17 percent of GDP and growing at a slower pace than
the national debt of the United States. Therefore, this leads us to conclude
that independence is a necessity because the longer we remain part of
the United States, the larger our share of its national debt is. So it’s a race
against a debt clock in a situation that worsens with every passing second.
YESCALIFORNIA.ORG Page 19
QUESTION ? Q: “Why is a per-capita share of the debt a fair amount?
A: Assuming the national debt on a per capita basis means California will
assume a share of the national debt proportional to its share of the US
population so each Californian’s share of the national debt is accounted for.
This is actually quite generous. California has not only recently been a source
of taxes to subsidize other states, but also a source of natural resources from
which the United States owes its very existence. General Grant, who became
President four years after the American Civil War, said of California’s support
for the Union during that conflict: “I do not know what we would do in this
great national emergency if it were not for the gold sent from California.”
So, California has a long history of sending its riches – be it gold or dollars – to
keep the Union alive and well and we believe we’ve already paid our debt.
Q: “What do you mean by “it’s a race against the clock”?
A: The debt-to-GDP ratio is getting worse every year. What will our share of the
national debt be in 2030 when it is projected to reach $30 trillion?
As stated, the current figures are bad enough. If we accept that the US
national debt will continue to grow, then we must also accept that our share of
that debt will also grow as long as we are a part of that country.
It is not just the $19.4 trillion national debt, either. Federal debt held by the
public is projected to nearly double over the next 30 years to 141% of GDP by
2046. Eventually, this will make the Union fiscally unsustainable. Assuming
the Union will inevitably collapse under the weight of its debt, the longer we
wait to exit the Union, the larger our share of its debt will be. So, would you
rather take $2.4 trillion now, or $3.6 trillion in 2030?
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WILL WE HAVE OUR OWN CURRENCY?
An independent California may eventually have its own currency but that is
a question to be answered in future elections. The day after independence,
California can continue using the U.S. Dollar and if anyone tells you
something different, they are lying.
That is because the U.S. Dollar is a “fully-tradeable” international currency,
which means any country can use it if it wants to without requiring the U.S.
Government’s permission. Many countries have already done away with
their own currency and instead use international ones like the U.S. Dollar, so
having our own currency is not something we absolutely must have.
WHAT ABOUT MEDICAID?
Medicaid is administered by the individual states but subject to federal
requirements. This means California already has the infrastructure to
continue running this important healthcare program and delivering its
benefits as an independent country. While the program is funded jointly by
the state and federal government, independence means the taxes you pay
to the U.S. Government that fund Medicaid today will simply be diverted to
Sacramento to continue funding it tomorrow. Indeed, while this healthcare
YESCALIFORNIA.ORG Page 21
program may continue under a different name in an independent California,
the program itself certainly will continue – with the added benefit that federal
requirements will no longer apply to it, putting complete control of the
program exclusively into our hands.
WHAT ABOUT MEDICARE AND SOCIAL SECURITY?
Medicare is administered entirely by the U.S. Government and paid for with
your federal taxes. While this important Social Security program provides
health insurance coverage to persons over the age of 65, it does not cover
100% of all costs. As is the case with Medicaid, an independent California
will be able to administer a program to continue this important health
coverage with the federal taxes you currently pay to the federal government
that will instead be paid to Sacramento. By doing so, California (instead of
the federal government) will have control of who, what, when, where, and
how much is covered by the program.
Remember, California’s independence will never deprive you of your U.S.
citizenship – you will simply become eligible for dual citizenship in California
and will suddenly be living in a foreign country. The good news is that won’t
affect your retirement benefits. The Social Security Administration says
that U.S. citizens living outside the United States may continue to receive
retirement payments “as long as you are eligible for payment and you are in
a country where we can send payments.”
By the way, collecting your Social Security retirement benefits as a U.S.
citizen living in another country also means you will still be automatically
covered by premium-free Medicare Part A if you visit the United States and
need additional coverage while there. You will also be eligible for coverage
under Part B. In short, you will not lose your citizenship, your health
insurance coverage or your Social Security retirement benefits by voting yes
on the California independence referendum.
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WHAT ABOUT OUR WATER AND AGRICULTURE?
Even with the water shortages we faced in 2014, California’s 76,400 farms
produced $54 billion that year – a more than five percent increase in cash
receipts from 2013. No other state in the county has a larger agricultural
output than California so it is no doubt that this industry is a very important
part of California’s economy.
About half of California’s water is used for environmental purposes such
as maintaining habitats and scenic rivers or keeping seawater out of the
Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, which is an important source of
our drinking water. Another 40 percent of California’s water is used for
agricultural irrigation while urban usage represents the remaining ten
percent of water usage.
Technological innovation has allowed for agricultural and urban water usage
to decline although farm production and the population continues to grow
each year. This is good news for the environment as well as the economy.
While an independent California will continue to foster the technological
innovation and promote the environmental conservation that has led to
the decline in water usage across California, independence means we can
actually increase the water supply. More water means California’s $2.46
trillion economy – the sixth largest in the world – can continue to expand
because farmers will be able to grow more crops and we as a nation will be
able to support an ever-growing population.
In normal years, the snowpack supplies about 30 percent of California’s
water as it melts in the spring and early summer. The larger the snowpack,
the greater the likelihood California’s reservoirs will receive ample runoff.
However, this snow and the associated runoff is on federal lands and
managed by federal agencies subject to the federal budget. The problem is
YESCALIFORNIA.ORG Page 23
the federal government is mismanaging these lands by allowing the forests
of the Sierra Nevada mountains to become too dense. Not only does that
negatively affect the health of our forests and increase the likelihood of
forest fires, but more trees means that more water is being consumed and
therefore there is less runoff.
As an independent country, we will take control of our forests. This will put
us in position to increase mechanical thinning and restore meadows. In
doing so, we will allow our beautiful Sequoias to grow and flourish, reduce
the threat of forest fires, and increase the water supply available for
hydropower, agriculture, and urban water usage – the economic benefits of
which would be sufficient to cover the costs of these restoration projects.
Not only has the federal government mismanaged our forests but they have
also been allowing private corporations to extract California’s groundwater
from these forests with permits that have been expired since the late
1980s. While this does not represent a huge portion of our water supply,
every drop counts – especially in a drought.
An independent California will have oversight authority to not only make sure
that private companies extracting our groundwater for profit are operating
with valid permits, but also that they adequately compensate the people of
California for this precious resource. The federal government permits these
companies to extract millions of gallons of our water for just $527 a year!
On top of all this, because we will no longer be subsidizing other states
and also spending less on the military, an independent California will have
more money to pay for the maintenance of existing water infrastructure
facilities – such as those near Sacramento, one of the most “at-risk” areas
for a catastrophic flood resulting from levee failure, as well as new projects,
including Eco-friendly desalination along the coast.
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WHAT ABOUT MONEY FOR ROADS AND HIGHWAYS?
Much of the money the federal government spends maintaining
transportation infrastructure in California come from the federal excise
taxes on gasoline we pay at the pump. There is also a state excise tax on
gasoline which Sacramento collects to upkeep transportation infrastructure
maintained by the state of California.
When California becomes an independent country, these excise taxes
will remain in place (if they haven’t already been replaced by a per-mile
tax scheme first) but all of them will be collected by Sacramento so that
California’s Department of Transportation, CalTrans, can use these funds to
take care of all the transportation infrastructure that is currently maintained
by the state government, and assume responsibility for the transportation
infrastructure that is currently in maintained by the federal government.
And there will be no loss or reduction in funding. In fact, there will actually
more funding for transportation infrastructure because again California
receives less in federal funding than it contributes. An analysis of Federal
Highway Trust Fund payments versus state apportionments shows that
between 1994 – 2013, California received about $0.94 from the federal
government for each dollar in federal gasoline excise taxes paid by drivers
across the state of California everyday.
So the question you need to answer is: do you want all the excise taxes you
pay on gasoline to maintain roads in California, or do you want a portion of
those taxes, your highway funds, to maintain roads in the 49 other states?
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WHAT ABOUT FUNDING FOR EDUCATION, PELL GRANTS, ETC.?
California already has its own education system from Kindergarten to
Graduate school. In fact, the California Institute of Technology and Stanford
University are respectively ranked as the first and third best universities in
the world – straddling Oxford University which holds the number two spot.
Together, four of the top 20 universities in the world are in California.
However, both the California Institute of Technology and Stanford University,
which represent California so well in the global rankings, are private
universities. That means they are not subsidized by tax dollars from the state
or federal government and instead rely on tuition and private contributions
for funding. Many universities in California are private.
When it comes to taxpayer-funded public universities, a great deal of funding
does come from the federal government. However, federal funds exist
because you pay federal taxes. When California becomes an independent
country, the federal taxes you pay to the U.S. Government will instead be
paid to California’s Franchise Tax Board. This means that funding for public
colleges and universities and all the programs and grants that help students
afford college will continue at their current levels (or even increase) without
raising any new taxes.
This goes back to the recurring themes of this campaign. For the past
two decades, we have been paying an average of $16 billion more in
federal taxes than we have been receiving in federal funds each year. In
an independent California, you will pay the same taxes but you won’t lose
$16 billion a year by sending this money to Washington, D.C. first. So, we
will actually have more money available for education in an independent
California but with the added benefit of finally cutting the strings the
federal government attaches to federal funds in order to coerce us into
implementing their education policies.
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HOW WILL WE DEFEND OURSELVES?
Only one country has ever invaded California – the United States. Modernday
California doesn’t have military enemies and in fact, there are 23
countries in the world, including Iceland and Panama, that do not have a
regular military and yet they manage to remain free from invasion. Unlike
these countries, however, California will have a military that is ample for our
defense in North America.
What does ample for our defense in North America mean? Well, Canada
defends itself with about $18 billion a year while Mexico protects itself with
even less. In fact, the global average for military budgets is about $17 billion
a year. Only the United States spends way more, so it is no surprise that this
country remains one of the only major industrialized countries in the world
that can’t guarantee healthcare, among other services, to all of its citizens.
An independent California will be able to refocus our priorities on these
important quality of life issues while still providing for the defense and
security of our country. However, independence does not mean the U.S.
military is going to leave California right away. Although this campaign does
not take many specific policy positions, instead leaving them to be decided
by future elections, we do take the position that California will negotiate a
military base agreement with the Americans.
These military base agreements will require the Americans to lease the
land their bases are on just like they do in many countries around the world.
These leases will bring in revenue each year that we can use to subsidize
California’s defense and national security budget. Perhaps most importantly,
an independent California will be more secure and at less risk of attack
simply because we will no longer be involved in all of America’s military
activities that actually perpetuate and instigate terrorism around the world.
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WILL WE JOIN THE UNITED NATIONS?
One key element of nationhood is international recognition. Once we have
voted in favor of independence through an honest referendum, we will be
able to request international recognition of our independence. As such,
California will then apply for membership in the United Nations and ratify its
Charter. Joining the United Nations will provide California with many benefits,
including a greater platform and more influence to affect the changes we
want to see in the world.
WILL WE JOIN THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT?
Although this campaign draws many comparisons between the Brexit
vote and our independence referendum, one of the key differences is that
the Brexit vote was about the United Kingdom leaving the international
community (i.e. the European Union) while our independence referendum
is about California joining the international community. Therefore, one way
to fully integrate an independent California and our diverse population is to
join the International Criminal Court and that will be an option available to
us as an independent country. Doing so will provide California with another
platform to influence the direction of world affairs.
WILL WE BE A MEMBER OF THE GROUP OF EIGHT (G8)?
California is currently the sixth largest economy in the world based on
its Gross Domestic Product. At more than $2.46 trillion, our economy is
larger than the French or Russian economies. That means an independent
California will be a major economic player on the world stage and be
deserving of a seat in the Group of Eight (G8), a political forum of the world’s
eight major industrialized countries. This will provide California yet another
platform to participate in world affairs and steer the course of history on the
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WHAT ABOUT OTHER INTERGOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS?
Aside from gaining a new platform to exert our positive influence around
the world in the United Nations, the International Criminal Court and in the
Group of Eight, California as an independent country can and should join
many other intergovernmental organizations. Some of these organizations
include the World Trade Organization, the World Bank, the International
Monetary Fund, the Organization of American States, and the Organization
for Economic Cooperation and Development. From combating global poverty
to collective security, the possibilities and influence we will have on the world
stage as an independent country far eclipse the opportunities provided to us
by remaining part of a broken and dysfunctional Congress as U.S. state. WILL WE HAVE OUR OWN OLYMPIC TEAM?
There are currently three official Olympic Training Centers in the United
States and one of them is in California. That puts California in a strong
position to establish our own Olympic Committee to support, enter and
oversee Californian athletes and teams for the Olympic Games.
California is the home of many great athletes. In all, 22% of the 2016 U.S.
Olympic Team, some 124 out of 554 athletes, were Californians – even
though California represents just 12% of the population of the United States.
This is one way we can bring
gold to California for once.
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WILL I NEED A PASSPORT OR A VISA TO VISIT THE UNITED STATES?
While the act of California becoming an independent country will not affect
your U.S. citizenship, California will indeed become a foreign country. As
such, not only will we have an international border with Mexico to the south
but we will suddenly have international borders to our east with Arizona and
Nevada, and to our north, with Oregon.
As a U.S. citizen, your travel to the United States will not be impaired but you
may need to show your passport when the cross the border depending on
your mode of travel. For travel by air, U.S. Customs and Border Protection
says that all US citizens entering the United States from within the Western
Hemisphere must present a passport. However, the United States has
various international programs for travelers entering the United States.
One is the NEXUS program, which enables U.S. citizens to travel between
Canada and the United States more quickly and easily by using automated
self-serve kiosks in the air mode of travel, dedicated lanes in the land mode
of travel, and by calling Telephone Reporting Centers prior to arrival in the
marine mode of travel.
Another program is Global Entry. Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border
Protection program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, lowrisk
travelers upon arrival in the United States by air. Global Entry kiosks
are already in place at airports in Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego, San
Francisco, and San Jose.
Between these programs, as well as SENTRI and FAST, an independent
California will work with the U.S. Government to facilitate U.S. citizen travel
to and from California. However, even without such a program in place,
U.S. citizens entering the United States by land, such as by driving across
the border into Nevada, may do so with a passport, a passport card, or an
enhanced driver’s license.
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WHAT ABOUT EMBASSIES AND CONSULATES?
Currently, Sacramento has zero foreign embassies but Bulgaria, Denmark,
Hungary, and Italy have honorary consulates – facilities that do not provide
the full range of services typically available at embassies and consulates.
With over 190 countries in the world, when Sacramento becomes a national
capital of an independent republic, we will welcome nations to set up
diplomatic posts to facilitate international relations with us and to provide
services to their citizens visiting or residing in California, as well as for
Californians interested in visiting or doing business abroad.
This will completely transform Sacramento as local businesses, contractors,
and workers build many of these embassies and the infrastructure that
will be necessary to support them and their staff. The presence of foreign
embassies in Sacramento will spur growth in all sectors of the local and
national economy. Embassies will help bring more foreign investment and
international tourism to California, and improve trade relations.
Likewise, an independent California will set up embassies and consulates
in other countries. Interestingly, we already have trade missions in China
and Israel. Those trade missions would need to be expanded to handle
diplomatic and other consular affairs. More embassies would be established
in the capital cities of other countries as well.
While this will incur great upfront costs, the presence of embassies in
foreign countries improve tourism by up to 30% (even more so in developing
countries) and each foreign mission raises bilateral exports from 6-10%.
Combined with other benefits of establishing embassies and consulates
abroad, the economic benefits of establishing them will be well worth the
investment. California already is the number one place in the United States
for direct foreign investment.
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SUMMARY OF POINTS
California is a unique place – the home of forty million souls who collectively
make up the sixth largest economy in the world. We have the people, the
resources, and the economy to make it as an independent country.
When the time comes to make a decision in the ballot box in 2019 on
whether to vote yes or no on the Calexit independence referendum,
remember no matter the results of the referendum, you will not lose your
U.S. citizenship or any of the benefits, services, or privileges that are
afforded to U.S. citizens.
Nothing will change overnight. The day after the historic independence vote,
California will still be a state and still have representation in Washington
and you will unfortunately still have to pay your federal taxes. Voting yes
on independence will simply express your will that California becomes an
independent country. In order for that to actually happen, the government of
California and the government of the United States will have to negotiate the
details over a couple of years.
We highlight these two points first and foremost because the fear-mongers
of the U.S. government and those who would prefer that California remain
subservient to Washington are going to try and scare you into voting against
independence by raising questions about citizenship issues and by implying
that economic and/or political anarchy will ensue if the referendum passes.
This is not the case. With that settled, keep in mind the following points:
1. California loses an average of $16 billion each year by remaining a U.S.
state. That is the deficit between the amount of federal taxes we pay each
year versus the amount of federal spending in California.
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2. As an independent country, we can adjust the amount of spending we
allocate for weapons of war to an amount more consistent with our values
as peace-loving Californians. This will free upwards of $50 billion a year
and get Californians out of the business of subsidizing the United States’
imperialist and militaristic foreign agenda while adequate providing for our
defense in North America.
3. With these funds freed up, an independent California will be able to
improve the quality of life of our people by reinvesting in schools, hospitals,
and infrastructure. We will be able to do this while maintaining every job,
agency, program, grant, and service that you currently receive from the
state or federal government. However, with an entire level of government
bureaucracy eliminated (the federal government), there is bound to be quite
a bit of streamlining which will save even more taxpayer money.
4. These savings will not only improve the budget situation in California, but
it will allow us to over time pay down our debt and perhaps even eliminate
some taxes and fees – taxes and fees we have to pay today to make up for
the loss of billions of dollars a year in a tax deficit with Washington.
5. Lastly, California not only has the potential to do so much better for our
own people by managing our own affairs, but as an independent country we
will have the capacity to help build a better world. Building a better world
is what California is all about. It is unfortunate that today we find ourselves
stuck in a country that is making the world more dangerous and divided.
Let’s change that.
VOTE YES, CALIFORNIA!