Splitting The State Would Make No Financial Sense

The calls have begun again to consider splitting Upstate New York from the New York City area.

The Upstate/Downstate divide is nothing new, but the divide seems particularly wide when the state Legislature begins passing a rash of progressive-backed legislation that tends to be particularly galling to many in the more conservative, rural areas of the state. The possibility of dividing the state was actually one of the big selling points of those who wanted statewide passage of a referendum calling for a state constitutional convention in the run-up to last November’s election.

Recently, state Sen. Daphne Jordan, R-Halfmoon, proposed legislation that would require the state Comptroller’s Office to study create a commission to study the issue and present a report to the governor and legislative leaders.

In the long view, such a report is a waste of time. We know with relative certainty that any state that doesn’t include New York City and its affluent neighbors would have taxes so high no one could afford to live there even if it was free from the regulatory burdens New York state currently inflicts on its residents and on its taxpaying businesses. The benefits of New York City ultimately outweigh the annoyances of city-centric legislation that make many of us in more rural areas shake our heads.

But, if it can be done cheaply, the report may make sense in the short term. While decision-makers know splitting the state makes little sense financially, many of the statistics and figures that go into making those decisions aren’t widely known to the public. People who advocate for Upstate New York forming its own state should know what the likely tax burden would be, exactly what the benefits are to having New York City as part of the state and what the process is to split the state.

Some people will never have their mind changed on an Upstate secession no matter the information they are given. For those with an open mind, however, Jordan’s proposed study would at least provide more information on a topic that is likely never going to go away.

COMMENTS