What about people who don’t want to secede? Something that was said during the complaint before the New Hampshire Ballot Commission last week was something along the lines of “these secessionists want to strip us of our citizenship”. This is an important point that needs to be addressed.
Back during Revolutionary War times, colonists who didn’t want the British colonies to secede were in a really tough spot. If they didn’t want to live in the new country of the U.S.A., their alternative was to make the long trip back to England or Europe.
The situation in the U.S. today is radically different. When New Hampshire secedes, a percentage of its population undoubtedly won’t WANT to do so. There are several possibilities how to handle this situation that would hopefully be acceptable to both groups of people.
Options for Modern Loyalists
Dual citizenship – New Hampshire could negotiate an arrangement with the U.S. federal government whereby residents who don’t want to lose their U.S. citizenship could acquire dual citizenship. They would become citizens of the new New Hampshire, while also remaining citizens of the U.S. As U.S. citizens in what would now be a foreign country, they would still be subject to U.S. taxes. (The U.S. is one of the only countries in the world that continues to tax you, even when you don’t live there.)
Resident Alien status – Existing residents who don’t wish to become citizens of the new nation of New Hampshire could be granted something similar to a “green card”. That is, they could be given legal permission to live and work in New Hampshire, while not actually being a citizen. Presumably, this would mean they would lose the right to vote in local and NH-national elections. Also, as in the Dual Citizenship option above, they would need to continue paying U.S. taxes.
Relocation Stipend – Residents who don’t support secession could have their relocation expenses to another U.S. state paid for them.
While the idea of a relocation stipend might sound far-fetched, it’s really not. According to Moving.com, the average cost of a “long-distance” (defined as 1000 miles) move is about $5000. Their estimate is based on a 2-3 bedroom move of approximately 7500 pounds.
A distance of 1000 miles from New Hampshire provides a LOT of options. A person could relocate as far south as Charleston, South Carolina, or as far west as Chicago, IL. All of New England and most of the Eastern seaboard would be within range.
Let’s run some numbers. The population of New Hampshire is roughly 1.4 million. Let’s say that, as CACR32 was written earlier this year, it would require a vote of 2/3 of New Hampshire voters for New Hampshire to secede. So that might leave half a million people in the state who do NOT want to secede. 500,000 times $5000 each equals $2.5 billion. (Note that this is a generous example because the relocation estimate is based on families, not individuals).
Who exactly would pay for this relocation stipend? Again, there are multiple options:
Voluntarily funded by High Income People – The documentary Proclivity for Taxing Income (see our article about the documentary and the Club 75 Alliance), proposed a strategy of marketing an independent New Hampshire as a tax haven for high income individuals. In that case, perhaps these people would be willing to voluntarily chip in a fixed amount to a Relocation Fund as a part of the independence negotiations.
Shared equally across citizens of the new New Hampshire – $2.5 billion sounds like a lot of money!! But is it really? Divided evenly across the 900,000 citizens of our new country, that works out to a one-time payment of $2,778 each. That’s the equivalent of just one semi-annual property tax payment for many New Hampshire residents. And it’s FAR less than what many people pay in federal income tax payments each year. Some people would be happy with a trade-off of this one-time payment in exchange for never having to pay federal income tax again.
Covered by a large corporation – Just one large corporation that decides to relocate to New Hampshire to take advantage of a new, more business-friendly environment could cover this amount. For example, in 2020, amazon.com (currently based in Seattle) acquired the robotics company Zoox for $1.2 billion. That’s just one of dozens of businesses amazon has acquired over the past several years, each acquisition costing hundreds of millions of dollars or more.
In Dec. 2021, Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (headquartered just across the New Hampshire border in Waltham, MA) acquired PPD for $17.4 billion.
$2.5 billion sounds like a lot, but for companies like amazon and Thermo Fisher, it’s just another business expense. It’s also common for companies to relocate to a different state or country in order to take advantage of a more favorable tax environment.
These possibilities cover the financial aspect of assisting loyalists who choose to leave New Hampshire. Obviously, they don’t cover the emotional and cultural aspects. Some people might have spent their entire lives in New Hampshire and really don’t want to leave. But how many people does that apply to?
According to the University of New Hampshire,
“the state has one of the most mobile populations in the country. Only 41.3 percent of the state’s residents were born in New Hampshire, far less than the average across New England states (54.3 percent) or the average for all states (57.2 percent). Among those over the age of 25, only about one-third were born in the state (32.5 percent). “
Might it be challenging for loyalists to have to move out of the state? Sure. But it’s a challenge that literally more than half the state has already gone through at least once. It’s hardly insurmountable.