Baja Arizona – The 51st State?

Baja Arizona

Residents of Pima County, which borders Mexico, have a message for what they consider the extremists who currently dominate Arizona’s state government.

That message is: “Buh bye.”

Talk of secession fills the dry air in the cactus-studded land that would become the nation’s 51st state, with the name Baja Arizona.

Paul Eckerstrom is co-chair of the insurgent group, Start Our State, told the Arizona Daily Star that supporters of the movement are fed up with far-right policies coming out of the state legislature and Governor’s office in Phoenix — especially legislation that defies the power of the federal government. The most famous (or infamous) example is the law passed last year that usurps federal authority to enforce immigration laws. Passage of the bill led to a nationwide boycott of Arizona.

This extreme position, said Eckerstrom, “really does border on them saying they don’t want to be part of the Union any longer. Well, I want to be part of the United States.”

Others are joining the movement for statehood for economic reasons. Arizona has a huge budget deficit, but, say Baja Arizonans, the Republican-led legislature and Republican Governor Jan Brewer are either not addressing the state’s economic woes — focusing instead on anti-immigrant and anti-abortion bills — or working for changes that will hurt the economy. One example of the later is the proposed legislation to gut or end altogether the state’s health care program for poor and elderly patients. That would cut Arizona’s annual payment of around $2 billion, but would also trigger a cut-off of federal funds totaling $7 billion a year. The plan, say experts, would force most rural hospitals in Arizona to close and cause a devastating ripple effect throughout the state’s fragile economy.

The complete post is at my Forbes blog, Edison 2.0.

Save Our State co-founder, Paul Eckerstrom on MSNBC:

More links to information on Baja Arizona:

Start Our State — Facebook page for Baja Arizona supporters.

Dueling Sheriffs: Baja Arizona secession a “Stupid” or “Tremendous” Idea.

Baja Arizona … a basic primer on America’s 51st (maybe) state. (The Tucson Citizen).

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