Assemblyman wants to put 2 New Yorks to a vote

Posted 17 March 2015 at 12:00 am


The more time I spend in the Assembly, the more I notice the distinction between New York City and upstate New York. It is clear to me that the needs of downstate continue to dominate New York State politics.

Year after year, New York City drains our education fund dry and more attention is given to things like rent control and New York City’s mass transit system; issues for which upstate New Yorkers have little concern. Two-thirds of representatives in the Assembly have districts south of the Tappan Zee Bridge and their interests continue to dominate the budget process while upstate is left to fight for scraps.

With recent news emerging about the Southern Tier toying with the idea of secession to Pennsylvania, upstate New Yorkers deserve to have a choice about splitting from New York City now more than ever. In 2012, New York spent more on Medicaid than Florida and Texas combined, and this year’s budget will surely raise that to an even higher level.

Why should upstate be forced to take home less pay because of those who chose to remain on government assistance and abuse the system for benefits such as rent and energy assistance and funding for appliances and groceries?

Sen. Joseph Robach (R-Rochester) and I have recently introduced legislation (A.4167) to allow a referendum on the question, “Do you support the division of New York into two separate states?” In doing so, we could measure the citizen support for this initiative to determine if it is actually feasible. As liberals from New York City continue to move upstate generation after generation, they will undoubtedly support increased services and more taxation.

New York has one of the highest exodus rates in the country. Younger generations are realizing that a life in New York is not sustainable due to the abusive tax structure and lack of employment opportunities. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to see if separation from New York City is actually feasible.

Without the expensive downstate burden, we could gain education funding, lower taxes, have full Second Amendment rights, and more opportunities to experience the “American Dream.” Join me in fighting for upstate and passing my legislation so we can build a better “New New York.”

Steve Hawley
Assemblyman 139th District