BY BEN AXELSON (NYUP.COM) APRIL 29, 2019
A state Assemblyman from Western New York is revisiting the often-repeated idea of dividing up New York to better reflect the differences between the New York City area and the broad Upstate New York region. But this time, the proposition makes a case for a third region.
Assemblyman David DiPietro, a Republican from East Aurora, has created a petition at SplitTheState.com to garner support for his idea to turn New York into three autonomous regions, while still keeping it one state. The regions would be:
- New York – Bronx, Kings, New York, Queens, and Richmond counties
- Montauk – Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland, and Westchester counties
- New Amsterdam – every county north of Westchester County
DiPietro proposes that each region would elect its own governor, legislature, and judicial wing and manage itself, but that for federal purposes, New York would remain one state.
“New York City has taxed us out of our homes and our businesses,” reads a statement on the petition website. “Our values are ignored and our resources are shipped downstate where we never see the benefits.”
DiPietro is far from the first New York lawmaker to propose dividing up the Empire State. In February, Republican state Sen. Daphne Jordan proposed a study to determine the up-front and long-term costs of separating the upstate and downstate regions.
Assemblyman Stephen Hawley, R-Batavia, also proposed letting New Yorkers vote in a referendum on the matter.
Supporters point to clear ideological differences between Upstate and Downstate residents, but opponents say dividing up the state would be disastrous for Upstate New York’s economy.
“Upstate would need to do a really significant reset of the way government is funded and what it spends, and upstate politicians have not exactly been clamoring for the reforms that it would take to make that happen,” said E.J. McMahon of the Albany-based Empire Center for Public Policy, a conservative think tank.
McMahon points to a lagging economy and shrinking tax base in Upstate New York as areas of concern when considering dividing up the state.
But DiPietro thinks the political differences between the regions make his point for him, telling WIVB-TV that Upstate New York would be “redder than Texas” if the regions were separated.