NY State Republicans once again move to split up the state

This feature is brought to you by the Wouldn’t It Be Nice department of New York State News. After yet another wave of liberal policies being signed into law and sending more sensible citizens fleeing the state, New York Republicans have once again resurrected a favorite plan from days past. Republican Assemblyman David DiPietro has introduced a bill that would split up the Empire State into three sections. This wouldn’t result in two new states, but rather three autonomous regions, each with their own governor and legislature. (Washington Times)

For decades, David DiPietro has watched his community in western New York state decline while Democrats from the Big Apple run the show, but when they took over both houses of the legislature in January, he said, “Enough.”

The Republican assemblyman went out on a limb last month by introducing a bill that would divide New York into three autonomous regions, each controlled by its own governors and legislatures. He argues that what works for New York City is dragging the rest of the state into economic oblivion.

“Western New York, where I’m from, has the most population loss with 18- to 35-year-olds. Our kids are leaving the state in droves, the most anywhere in the country,” Mr. DiPietro said. “There’s no jobs. And New York City controls this.”

This is a curious plan to be sure, but assuming that it’s legal it would be easier than attempting to carve off a couple of new states. DiPietro seems to have adopted most of his plan from the Divide NYS Caucus, which has endorsed his bill already. You can read about it at the link, but they claim that this is the easiest legal framework available to achieve the goal.

Creating new states would require not only the consent of the state legislature but the approval of Congress. That’s unlikely in the extreme unless the Democrats manage to drop into the smallest minority in living memory. But under this plan, New York would bypass Congress entirely by leaving New York as a single state. The state constitution would be amended to provide for the three autonomous regions, each electing their own executive and legislative bodies. I don’t know if that would work or not, but I don’t recall hearing anything similar taking place in the history of the country.

Of course, being a simpler plan doesn’t translate into significantly better odds of success. The bill’s sponsor makes a reasonable point when he says that the first step would be for the GOP to recapture the state senate and assembly and put the plan into effect over the objections of the Democrats. But here’s the problem. Once the Republicans are in control, they control the whole state. This immediately removes most of the incentive to break it up. It’s tough to look at the long term picture when you’ve just been handed the levers of power.

As one of the voters of the beleaguered upstate region, I’d love to see anything along these lines happen. But I’ve also been watching the state government in action for a long time now and I’m not going to pretend that this plan is going anywhere in my lifetime.