Upstate New York wants to secede from Downstate. Um

I read Denis Slattery’s story (see below) in today’s Daily News and burst out into joyous, not to mention derisive, laughter.

Here’s the whole thing about New York and secession:

Back in the I don’t quite remember whens, New York City — that is, the five boroughs — was going through one of its regular why-the-hell-are-we-sending-most-of-our-colossal-tax-revenue-to-upstate? stages. (When things get really bitter, we talk of seceding from the U.S., for similar reasons.)

This is and was a valid gripe. New York City is an economic supersonic spacecraft. We make a lot of money and when we pay our taxes to the State and the Federal Treasury, we send them more money than we get back.

Why do you think our public housing is having such trouble, and our subways struggling to keep up with modernity and the passenger load? Neither the State nor the patriarchal federal government appropriately and adequately supports our public institutions as they are morally and probably legally mandated to do.

So, back then (whenever “then” was — probably twenty or so years ago), there was political talk about the City seceding from the State. Becoming an independent city-state like Venice (from 400 to 1792). Keeping our money here, rather than sending it to build municipal pools or whatever in farm country.

At some point, I asked my accountant about this. “I suppose it wouldn’t work, would it?” He said, “Oh, it’d work beautifully. We could cut our state taxes in half. All of it, along with what we now pay in city taxes, would go directly to the City. We individual taxpayers would be paying much less and the city would be rolling in funds.”

Hm. Of course, Staten Island — the borough that put Rudy Giuliani in City Hall — didn’t want to secede. Staten Island was sulking, saying, “We’ll secede from the City,” i.e., the other four boroughs.

Most of us who heard this paused for a couple of seconds and said, “Oh OK.”

During one of these secession debates and reactions to Staten Island’s threat to secede from the rest of New York City, one major New York wag said, “Staten Island saying it’s going to secede from New York is like Gummo threatening to secede from the Marx Brothers.”

OK, that’s the background.

So you now know why us downstaters are throbbing in delight to read that a GOP State Senator from upstate wants to split New York State in two. And she’s planning on leaving us downstaters with the following: the five boroughs of New York City, the parts of Long Island that aren’t part of New York City (that would include the beaches, the Hamptons, like that), and Westchester and Rockland Counties.

If you have any vague idea about New York State geographical economics, you’ll grasp immediately how utterly GOP-insane this idea is — for upstate. Which is already poor. And how deliriously marvelous it would be for us downstaters.

Now you can read the Daily News article:

Let’s make New York into Two York

By Denis Slattery New York Daily News

An upstate lawmaker wants to know if it makes “cents” to split New York in two.
State Sen. Daphne Jordan (R-Halfmoon) introduced a bill last week that would create a panel within the state controller’s office to study the economic impact of upstate New York severing ties with the city and surrounding counties.

Jordan’s bill defines upstate as all counties north of Long Island, New York City, and Westchester and Rockland counties.

A memo with the bill claims that the “two regions have extremely divergent political and social views.”

The bill would create a “working group” to study the “short- and long-term economic ramifications, including economic opportunities, of splitting the state.”

Jordan also notes that “calls for these two regions to ‘part ways,’ so to speak, have grown louder and louder.”

Conservative groups, frustrated over Gov. Cuomo’s efforts to strengthen gun laws and other progressive measures put in place in recent years, have called for the divvying-up of the Empire State.

But with Cuomo in the governor’s mansion for another four years and Democrats in charge of the Senate and Assembly, bills related to slicing up the state are not likely to go anywhere.

“This is pretty comical coming from a Republican conference that controlled the Senate for over 50 years and helped raise taxes and drive out jobs from upstate New York,” said Senate Democratic spokesman Mike Murphy.

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