Upstate wants a divorce


Periodically, one or the other of the partners in New York City’s nervous marriage with parts north threatens to leave. This time, a State Senator from solid red upstate has weighed our value as a revenue source against our New Yorker cooties and found us wanting.

This outbreak of what Capitol Confidential memorably calls “The War Between the State” started with State Sen. Joseph Robach, a Republican from Greece, NY. Robach is sponsoring a bill with Republican state officeholders from rural and suburban districts which would allow, but not compel, counties to place the question “Do you support the division of New York into two separate states?” on the ballot.

If a secession bill made it out of committee, which it never has, all of the county legislatures would have to choose to take part, a win for supporters of the undefined would-be breakaway state would be non-binding, and unless our secesh friends plan to leave the country altogether, Congress would have to vote to allow a new state into the union.

The main effect of the bill would be a little free media for Senator Robach, last seen taking credit for killing the Empire Gold license plate “revenue grab.” State Democrats are saying it’s a gimmick.

Previous abortive secession attempts by reddish areas of the state include Staten Island‘s attempt to leave the city, and proposed new states for political Long Island (deliciously covered by the Daily Show‘s Samantha Bee), Suffolk County on Long Island, and the Hampton-holding East End of Suffolk County on Long Island. Geographical Long Island (including Brooklyn and Queens) wanted to form an entirely separate country.

Unlike the upstate proposal, in all cases except for Staten Island the area involved sends more money to the government they want to separate from than it gets back.