RIVERSIDE (CBS) — 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.
He unveiled his proposal on the day Gov. Jerry Brown signed budget legislation that will divert about $14 million in 2011-12 vehicle license fee revenue from four new Riverside County cities.
Officials fear the cut will cripple the new cities of Eastvale, Jurupa Valley, Menifee and Wildomar.
Stone said he would present his proposal to the Board of Supervisors July 12.
The new state would have no term limits, only a part-time legislature and limits on property taxes.
"A secessionist movement? What is this, 1860?" Brown spokesman Gil Duran told The Press-Enterprise.
Riverside County Supervisor Bob Buster called Stone's proposal a "crazy distraction."
"We should begin to get our own budget balanced, which we haven't done yet, and put in place some of the reforms we need in this county before we try and go and restructure the government in the great state of California," he told the Press-Enterprise.
"The temperature has gone up in Riverside County and it seems Supervisor Stone has gotten too much sun recently," he added.
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