I know in the past a lot of people have pooh-poohed it, but I think the time has come.–Sen. Joseph Robach, R-Greece, Monroe County, who has sponsored a secession referendum bill since 2009
“We’re all one family here, let’s keep it that way.”-former NYS Governor Mario Cuomo
Jon Campbell, in an article which appeared in the Elmira Star-Gazette, explores the question of secession. I was surprised to learn that one proponent of secession from metropolitan New York was Randy Kuhl, who once represented much of what is now NY-23.
“Due to the extreme diversity of New York State, it has become almost ungovernable,” reads a memo attached to Kuhl’s 1992 bill.
For at least 24 of the past 28 years, New York lawmakers — most of them upstate Republicans — have introduced legislation that would either start the process of splitting New York into two separate states or gauge whether voters support it. In most cases, the proposals are aimed at splitting more-liberal New York City from the conservative enclaves that dominate much of the geography upstate. But each year, those proposals reliably die in committee without getting much serious consideration …
Sen. Joseph Robach, R-Greece, Monroe County, who has sponsored a secession referendum bill since 2009, says it is a worthwhile measure.
I have heard upstate politicians campaign on the issue of secession, telling voters that voting Republican is the only way to protect upstate interests from threatening city dwellers. This idea helps keep upstate mired in poverty while New York City prospers.
Proponents of secession claim that home rule would benefit upstate. In making that argument, they ignore the fact that the flow of money is from the metropolitan area to upstate rather than the reverse. Secession would make upstate even more poverty stricken than today.
Campbell explains that there has been support in New York City for secession, but I don’t believe there is much support for secession there today. Without that, secession will remain a political ploy for upstate Republicans. In any case, it wouldn’t be easy:
In order to split into two states, the U.S. Constitution says both the state Legislature and Congress have to approve.
Why Congress would want to give NYS two more Senators isn’t clear.
The only case of secession in US History is West Virginia, which happened in the throes of Civil War. It isn’t likely to happen again.