Any discussion behind a Texas secession from the union should be put to rest because it is both legally impossible and an impractical decision that could create more problems for disgruntled Texas residents.
A Nov. 14 article in The New Republic reported a White House petition had accumulated more than 80,000 signatures supporting Texas breaking away from the United States. The White House has already responded with a no, but it is important to understand that Texas could not survive alone, even with a culmination of economic and nationalistic sentiments.
With California taking first place, Texas has the second largest economy in the nation, according to Jan. 13, 2011 gross domestic product statistics from The Economist online. The same website rankings show Texas’ GDP is economically roughly equivalent to Russia. In addition, Gov. Rick Perry and the state legislature may be aiming to run a surplus this year.
A Jan. 20 Associated Press article in the San Antonio-Express News reported that general revenue for the state totaled $101.4 billion. However, when establishing a new country, money has to be distributed to a variety of important areas. Texas would need strong infrastructure, welfare services and a military for defense in potential drug wars spread from Mexico and other possible conflicts. It could be nearly impossible to maintain a potential surplus under these conditions.
The Republic of Texas would likely be a truly conservative country with a small federal government, weak trade unions and little income tax. Efforts would largely go into promoting the freedoms of individual citizens and expanding businesses. And if the new country’s defense is a priority, Texas would have to make budget cuts across the board, and education would likely take a hard hit.
An April 8, 2012 New York Times article reported that in the last legislative session, Texas lawmakers cut public education spending by about $5.4 billion to balance the state’s overall two-year budget. If lawmakers solve budget issues by slashing spending on public sectors, then this should be expected on a larger scale in a new country.
Tuition rates could possibly double to compensate for these budget cuts. The quality of education in the new nation would be another mystery, and improvement would be improbable. However, public education would likely only worsen if the government did not provide enough funds to sufficiently run schools and colleges. In this period of stagnation, the gap of quality between private and public institutions may widen.
In addition, Texas independence would likely strain relations with the United States, which could leave a bitter taste in the mouth of the U.S. government. Furthermore, Texas would probably not be invited into the North American Free Trade Agreement upon establishment. This could set tariffs and strict regulations into effect. One extreme, yet plausible, scenario could be a complete embargo like the one imposed on Cuba.
These tariffs could mean that food, clothing and other goods would be a lot more expensive. Until Texas could establish trade relations with other countries, a simple apple may cost 50 cents or maybe even a dollar. Those numbers seem very costly compared to the current estimated price of apples at 67 cents a pound in the San Marcos H-E-B store.
Texas would likely face intense struggles if it seceded from the union. In the first year of the new republic, quality of life could greatly depreciate. Higher education could become less accessible. Coupled with uncertain long-term possibilities, Texas is better off a state with some disgruntled residents instead of becoming an independent nation.