With all of the political turmoil in Washington over the government shutdown and the looming debt-ceiling, it’s easy to forget that there are other political bodies out there in turmoil. Like a group of counties in western Maryland and a group of countiesin Northern California, a rural corner of the state of Colorado had a number of county-wide referendums to vote for seceding from Colorado and forming the 51st state.
According to a report from The New York Times, 10 counties in Northeastern Colorado will have “a quixotic vote on whether to secede from Colorado and work to form their own state,” most likely called North Colorado. Although Moffat County, in Northwest Colorado, also wants to secede, it hopes for annexation by Wyoming since it does not share a physical border with the other secessionist counties.
For these residents, the complaints are the same as for those from Maryland or California. They feel their state legislature—dominated by urban Democrats—does not sufficiently represent their voice or interests. Governor Hickenlooper told reporters that while he rejects divisive politics, if the threat of secession was “a message,” that he would be willing to hear them out.
As will all state secession proposals, it will ultimately come down to money. According to I-News, a nonprofit journalism group in Colorado, the state legislature might save money if the secession is approved. Apparently the state spends about $60-$100 million dollars more than it receives in revenue from those counties. However, there is a large percentage of the Colorado energy market and a significant amount of farmland that the state would lose from its overall economy. Yet, if the Colorado State Legislature approves the secession if it passes, one has to assume they would only do so with some careful economic protections in place.