Southern California To Form New State?

One politician in Southern California thinks the state needs to split:

Is the state of California about to go “South”?

Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone apparently thinks so, after proposing that the county lead a campaign for as many as 13 Southern California counties to secede from the state.

Stone said in a statement late Thursday that Riverside, Imperial, San Diego, Orange, San Bernardino, Kings, Kern, Fresno, Tulare, Inyo, Madera, Mariposa and Mono counties should form the new state of South California.

The creation of the new state would allow officials to focus on securing borders, balancing budgets, improving schools and creating a vibrant economy, he said.

“Our taxes are too high, our schools don’t educate our children well enough, unions and other special interests have more clout in the Legislature than the general public,” Stone said in his statement.

This isn’t exactly new, there have been 26 other attempts to slice California up since it became a state in 1850. In each case, the proposals seem to be based in the tensions between Northern, Southern, and Central California, and the competing interests between the three. Will it happen? Odds are pretty low.

Incidentally, forming such a new state would require the consent of both the legislature of California and the United States Congress, as required by Article IV of the Constitution.


FILED UNDER: US Politics, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. john personna says:

    This was my old joke, that North California could be happy with higher taxes and more services, while South California would be happy with lower taxes and less services.

    But in reality, South California folk really want the services too. They just pretend the costs are not in their really great roads, parks, sorties of firefighting aircraft …

  2. PJ says:

    Doesn’t Mexico have lower taxes and less services? Maybe they should do more than just forming a new state?

  3. michael reynolds says:

    This is nonsense. Orange County and San Diego yoked to a bunch of farmers will solve something? He’s a not-very-bright nut.

  4. Liberty60 says:

    Yes its nuts- all the areas mentioned are heavily dependent upon federal and state largesse- San Diego cou.ty is essentially a grouping of military bases separated a few parcels of private property and the rest of the counties are agricultural areas dependent upon artificial taxpayer funded irrigation.

    But many of the people there indulge in the fantasy that their prosperity is self-made.

  5. Dave Schuler says:


  6. michael reynolds says:

    @Dave Schuler: In California, always.

  7. I’d go even further than this: I’d favor a constitutional ammendment stating that any state with a population of more than 10 million should be divided into two states in the manner decided by the state legislature.

    If this ammendment were passed, New York, Illinois, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio would need to be split. Texas would need to be split into three states. California would actually need to be split into FOUR.

  8. For good measure, probably would add a clause that any state with a population less than one million shall be merged into its least populous neighbor.

    That clause means:

    Montana and Wyoming merge.
    North and South Dakota merge.
    Vermont becomes part of New Hampshire.
    Delaware becomes part of Maryland.
    Alaska becomes part of Washington.

  9. michael reynolds says:


    I like that proposal. I’ve long opposed the existence of ridiculous states like Wyoming with a population less than that of a moderately large city.

  10. Burt Likko says:

    You notice how Los Angeles County is deliberately carved out of the proposed new state of South California? Don’t think that isn’t quite intention on this guy’s part. Bear in mind that Los Angeles County is about one-quarter of the total population of the state and votes heavily Democratic. Most of the other regions in this area are Republican (although parts of Orange and San Diego Counties are Democrat-friendly).

    Schuler and Reynolds mentioned water above but only elliptically. Note that this state would be taking over most of the Sierra Nevada mountains, which feed both the agricultural heartland of the state in the central valley and the cities, which are primarily coastal. Specifically, the Bay Area cities and the Los Angeles cluster of cities are all watered in large part by snowmelt from the Sierras.

  11. george says:

    I like that proposal. I’ve long opposed the existence of ridiculous states like Wyoming with a population less than that of a moderately large city.

    What do you do with Alaska?

  12. As I said, Alaska becomes part of Washington.

  13. BigFire says:

    Not happening. The last time any state did this (West Virginia) it was under some rather unconstitutional way. Albeit, doing it in the midst of civil war helps. None of the other state will go along with California getting 2 more Senators. That’s the bottom line.

  14. muchtoomuch says:

    Best to let the earthquake swallow the entire state so we can eliminate their debt, while the rest of the country moves on.