FAQ

What is the goal of the Initiative?
The goal is to form a new State comprised of Maryland’s five western counties (i.e. Garrett, Allegany, Washington, Frederick, and Carroll).
Is the goal of the Initiative to secede from the United States?
No.
What is the reason for the Initiative?
Annapolis has repeatedly injured us, abridged or denied our fundamental rights, and violated numerous articles in the Maryland Declaration of Rights. Our pleas for redress of grievances to the General Assembly and the Governor have been rebuffed or ignored. Our primary grievances are:

  1. Gerrymandering of districts – Four jurisdictions consisting of Baltimore County, Baltimore City, Prince Georges County, and Montgomery County have 76 of 141 state delegates and 25 of 47 state senators.
  2. Burdensome Taxation – Several dozen tax and fee increases over the past ten years. The most insidious was the rain tax.
  3. Restrictive Gun Ownership Control – Oppressive and restrictive gun control legislation that abridges our right of self-defense, requires a tax/fee to exercise that right, and onerous regulations which restrict or prohibit gun ownership.
  4. Plan Maryland – Local planning authority usurped by the State. Property rights and/or ownership violated or impacted.

Consequently, Annapolis no longer has the consent of the governed in the five western Maryland counties. We intend to exercise our right of self-determination and self-governance to better secure our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

What do the terms right of self-determination and self-governance mean and how do they apply to the Initiative?
The right of self-determination and self-governance is the foundational principle that defines and separates how our governments are formed from those throughout history. The Declaration of Independence says, “That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”

Article I of the Maryland Declaration of Rights says, “That all Government of right originates from the People, is founded in compact only, and instituted solely for the good of the whole; and they have, at all times, the inalienable right to alter, reform or abolish their Form of Government in such manner as they may deem expedient.”

Article VI of the Maryland Declaration of Rights says, “That all persons invested with the Legislative or Executive powers of Government are the Trustees of the Public, and, as such, accountable for their conduct: Wherefore, whenever the ends of Government are perverted, and public liberty manifestly endangered, and all other means of redress are ineffectual, the People may, and of right ought, to reform the old, or establish a new Government; the doctrine of non-resistance against arbitrary power and oppression is absurd, slavish and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.”

Demonstrably, all governments are formed by the people. The people are the sovereigns. The people possess the political power.

What is government?
Government is nothing more or nothing less than the people exercising their right of association to form a political society. A state is a political society. The federal government is a political society.

Since the people, at all times, possess the right to create, alter, reform, or abolish their government – their political societies – the people of the five western counties possess the absolute right to leave their current political society (Maryland) and form a new political society – a new government – a new state – that governs in accordance with their views.

Is it legal and/or constitutional to erect a new state from an existing state?
Yes, it is legal and constitutional. Article IV Section III of the U.S. Constitution stipulates, “New states may be admitted by the Congress into this union; but no new states shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other state; nor any state be formed by the junction of two or more states, or parts of states, without the consent of the legislatures of the states concerned as well as of the Congress.”
Have new states ever been created from existing states?
Yes. This has been done several times in our history. Maine separated from Massachusetts, Kentucky from Virginia, Tennessee from North Carolina, West Virginia from Virginia, Vermont from New York, and Alabama and Mississippi from Georgia. The last occurred in 1863.
Why don’t you just get different people elected if you have issues with how Maryland is governed?
One of the primary grievances with Maryland is gerrymandering. The State Delegate, State Senate, and Federal Congressional Districts are gerrymandered to ensure one party ascendency and to dilute and distribute opposing views. In our view they have a rigged game, with rigged rules, on a rigged field and they own the referees. Even through the normal electoral process the outcome cannot be changed.

Moreover, four jurisdictions have the majority of House and State Senate seats. Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Prince Georges County, and Montgomery County constitute 25 of the 47 Senate seats (exclusive districts to only those jurisdictions). They have 76 of 141 State Delegate Seats. The other 20 jurisdictions are controlled by these 4 jurisdictions.

Why don’t you just move to another state?
That is clearly an option. However, that doesn’t solve the problems or address the grievances the people of the five western counties have with Annapolis. Many of us have lived in Maryland our entire lives and have family histories that go back several generations. We consider this our home and we shouldn’t be forced to leave as a result of the governance coming from Annapolis.
If you are successful what is to stop states from continually dividing until a state consists of a few people or a few hundred people?
Size and scale matters. Especially when discussing representative government. At the time the Constitution was being debated and discussed in the state ratifying conventions there were significant concerns over the ratio of representation. At that time the ratio was 30,000 people for every one representative in Congress. In the Massachusetts state ratifying convention roughly 1/3rd of the debate was around representation. There were some that believed this ratio was too high and needed to be lowered.

Today, representation in the House of Representatives is roughly 730,000 people for every 1 person. That is 24 four times greater than the original ratio. That is not representative government. If today’s ratio were used at the time the Constitution was ratified there would be just four representatives in the House. The Constitution would never have been ratified.

Likewise, consider a jury. In most states a jury consists of twelve people. Imagine if a jury was 24 times larger than it is today. That would mean a jury would have 288 people on it. Imagine how difficult it would be to unanimously convict someone of a crime with 288 people on a jury.

Likewise, representation that is too small is also problematic. A jury of one or two people is too small. Representation of one person, one family, or one street is too small. The most populous state has nearly 38 million people. The least populous state has 570,000 people. A new state consisting of the five western counties would have a population of 653,000 people.

Demonstrably, this is of a size and scale that has worked throughout our history.

If many new states are formed won’t we have too many states?
There is no magic to fifty states. The Union started with thirteen states. Then grew over time and eventually there were twenty, thirty, forty, then fifty states. The Union would function perfectly fine with 58 states, 83 states, 120 states, or 270 states.

In fact, the more states the more choices there are in terms of governance. It would be like the Baskin Robbins of states. More flavors of governance to choose from.

If there are more states then the country will become more divided?
The country is divided over many issues, but the number of states isn’t what divides people. If there were thirty states, fifty states, or one hundred states people would be divided over certain issues.

The crux of the problem is most issues are nationalized. That is, the issue is elevated to the national level through legislation in Congress or through the judicial system. Consequently, a one-size fits all policy for 310 million diverse people divides the people. When one party is in power half the country is unhappy, and when the other party returns to power the other half of the country is unhappy. The political divide is a natural result of nationalizing nearly everything.

More states offer more competition in the area of governance. Some people may choose to live in a state that is far “left” on the political spectrum, some people may choose to live in a state that is far to the “right” on the political spectrum, while others may choose a state somewhere between those two choices. It is the Baskin-Robbins of governance. There are hundreds of flavors to choose from. Contrast that with a one-size fits all national policy where there is only one flavor to choose at any given time.

The State of Maryland puts more money into the five western counties then it receives from taxes and fees. How will the new state support itself?
The assertion isn’t fact, however let’s assume it is true. This would be a win-win for Maryland and the new state. Maryland would be spending less and those funds can be used through the remaining nineteen jurisdictions.
What is the new state’s tax base and economic base?
First, people will continue working at their jobs wherever that may be. Some people work in the county they reside in. Others travel to different counties which may be in the new state or in neighboring states. None of this will change. The people will remain the same distance from two major metropolitan areas (Washington, D.C. and Baltimore).

Secondly, at a high-level the new state is envisioned to be business friendly and economically competitive. One way to ensure a competitive and business friendly environment is to eliminate the corporate income tax. That tax is simply a business expense which is passed through to the consumer. Businesses can evaluate whether they want to locate in the new state or a state like Maryland with an excessively high corporate income tax rate.

State revenues may come from various sources such as income taxes, sales taxes, etc. However, the vision is to reduce the size of the state government therefore less overall tax revenue is needed. A policy committee will be formed to evaluate and assess various tax revenue sources.

Thirdly, one objective is to give more local control to the counties. Counties would then determine their policies and determine locally what tax base is necessary to support those functions.

Has a new State constitution been written?
Not at this time. That would happen eventually, but it is premature to draft a state constitution at this time.
Maryland will never let the five western counties go. Why are you wasting time and effort on the Initiative?
Perhaps some may not agree or think it is impossible. It is difficult but not impossible. Also, what the thirteen colonies did in 1776 was infinitely more difficult than this effort. Again, new states have been formed from existing states in our history. Just because it hasn’t happened since 1863 doesn’t mean it’s not a worthwhile endeavor.
What will the policies be for the new state?
While we expect policies to be focused on smaller and less intrusive government, more local control, lower taxes, and less regulation that what we have today, the policies of the new state are not up to the few individuals leading the Initiative. Should the Initiative be successful, policies will depend on what the citizens of the new state decide.