Social Question

kelly's avatar

If States (in USA) were to merge to avoid bankruptcy, which States would do so? (see details)

Asked by kelly (1883 points ) February 20th, 2011

Here in Illinois our technically bankrupt state’s governor has requested that the 800+ school districts be forced to merge to yield about 400 inorder to reduce the billions in deficit by reducing administration, duplication, facilities etc. So, if a State needed to survive by merging with a contiguous State, which in your opinion would be candidate to wed and why? Such as North Carolina and South Carolina; or Oregon and Washington.

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8 Answers

bkcunningham's avatar

School consolidation isn’t anything new. It’s happened for decades all over the country in many states when enrollment drops and there aren’t enough taxpayers to fund the schools. It is a difficult thing for communities to lose their schools. There are many community and emotional things tied to local schools from polling places to identity with your school’s colors and mascot. It is a hard piece of reality, but people cope and survive.

I can’t imagine states annexing other states.

josie's avatar

First of all, it won’t happen. No sovereign state, no matter how desperate, is likely to dissolve itself into another unless forced to do so by military action-which won’t happen.
Plus, US history already has proven what happens when states unilaterally attempt to mess with the established union.

But I will play along.

Two bankrupt states would not merge, because neither would benefit. The new state would still be bankrupt.
Thus, it would have to be a solvent state that absorbs the bankrupt state, because they saw a way to make money by taking over whatever assets the bankrupt state had, whether it be some geographical feature, or civic or industrial infrastructure or something like that.
And at that point, it would not likely be a contiguous states. Many contiguous states, like Ohio and Michigan, have the same problem for the same reasons.

marinelife's avatar

I can’t imagine any states merging.

WasCy's avatar

The situation you imagine is so unlikely to occur that one could say with confidence “it’ll never happen.” American states aren’t like East and West Germany, for example, or North and South Korea, separated by force for many years and yearning for emotional reasons (much more than economic) to re-unite. When East and West Germany merged, the richer and more developed western part of the nation knew that it was ‘buying’ a huge problem in the east. When the Korean peninsula reunites one day, the situation will be even more dire.

But in the US, there’s no strong emotional reason to reunite, say, Virginia and West Virginia (which seceded from Virginia at the time of the American Civil War) or any other state. So if an economically secure state had a neighbor with huge economic problems, there’s no demand from the secure state to take on problems that it had no part in creating. In fact, there would more likely be a strong demand to insulate the secure state against any ‘contagion’ from the less secure one.

That’s not to say that there aren’t forces that support regionalism of one kind or another. In fact, I graduated from a regional high school in Massachusetts that has been the single public high school for the five-town region since the 1950s. There are a lot of other regional school systems in Massachusetts; mine wasn’t the only one. And there are super-regions, as well. Most of the New England states cooperate on a wide range of things, but they’re not anxious to cede sovereignty to any other state or regional authority.

In fact, there’s more likely to be a groundswell of popular intent to break apart some states. Northern and Southern California, for example, are very different from one another. Upstate New York is nothing like New York City. Even in a small state such as Massachusetts, most of the problems of Boston and the eastern end of the state are very remote from the people around the Connecticut River and in the Berkshires. (Well, except for the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics and Bruins, I guess.)

incendiary_dan's avatar

In Rhode Island, it used to be legal to shoot any Massachusetts resident that crossed the border. It might still actually be on the books.

WasCy's avatar

That’s a law that I’m sure Vermont and New Hampshire would like to adopt. Here in Connecticut we’re just going to put up toll booths.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@WasCy Crap, I work seasonally in CT, and I just moved to MA from RI. Cut some slack for me? :P

WasCy's avatar

I wish. On the other hand, since we’re not going to put up toll booths everywhere (unless AFSCME gets an idea of what a windfall that could be for them and pushes the legislature and governor in that direction), I can tell you some of the back roads to use between Webster and Stafford Springs to avoid the toll on I-84 when it’s enacted.

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