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A&M professor comments on financial feasibility of Texas seccesion

Published: Friday, January 18, 2013

Updated: Friday, January 18, 2013 00:01

More than 125,000 people, who signed an electronic petition after President Barack Obama was re-elected requesting that Texas be permitted to secede from the U.S., received a White House response Monday. The Obama administration did not permit Texas, nor the eight other petitioning states, to leave the Union.

The statement addressed petition from nine states, including Texas, Ala., N.C., S.C., Tenn., Ga., Fla. and La.

Jon Carson, White House director of public engagement, responded to the petitions through “We the People,” a White House-affiliated website that provides to the American people a way to petition the White House. If a petition gains 25,000 signatures in 30 days, it is a White House policy to review it, send it to the appropriate policy experts and issue an official response.

“As much as we value a healthy debate, we don’t let that debate tear us apart,” the statement said. “… More than 600,000 Americans died in a long and bloody civil war that vindicated the principle that the Constitution establishes a permanent union between the states.”

Harvey Tucker, an A&M political science professor, said he doubts Texas would secede due to its significant financial dependence on the U.S. government.

“Almost 40 percent of the current Texas state budget is financed by funds from the federal government,” Tucker said. “I doubt very many petition signers knew this when they signed. I doubt people who thought withdrawing from the union was practically feasible contemplating a 40 percent increase in Texas state taxes and fees.” 
Tucker also pointed out the legal implications regarding states’ liberty to act.

“A legal option for states to secede would require an amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” Tucker said. “The president plays no legal role in amending the U.S. Constitution.”

Daniel Cobos, senior history major, said it is fun to joke about the idea of seceding, but in reality it is not plausible.

“For the sake of my love for Texas, the whole secession thing is a fun idea,” Cobos said. “For the sake of America, I can’t condone something that would be harmful to my country. I think the White House’s response was appropriate and I have to say I agree with it 100 percent.”

On the opening day of the 83rd Texas Legislature last Tuesday, supporters of the Texas Nationalist Movement — a group that wants Texas to sever its federal ties and become an independent nation — met with Republican leaders, including Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, The New York Times reported Thursday.

Despite students typically responding to the petition and subsequent White House response without serious consideration for the likelihood of Texas secession, there are Texans who have full belief in the state to survive on its own. Tabor Cobern, junior agricultural business major said Texas’ qualifications could match those of other countries.

Cobern compared Texas to Australia, saying Texas’ population is larger than Australia’s by 3 million and that the two have equal gross domestic products.

“[Texas] was an independent nation for a decade,” Cobern said. “We also had our own president and currency. If we seceded, we would be the 46th largest country by land mass and the 13th largest economy in the world. And Texas gets more from the federal government than it gives back to it. In the end, yes, I think Texas would be fine seceding.”


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