Republican Assemblyman David DiPietro introduced a bill last month that would divide the state of New York into three separate regions—each independent from each other with their own governor and legislatures. He told the Washington Times in a recent interview that the state has been in decline under the Democrats.
DiPietro, who was first elected in 2012 to serve the constituents of the 147th Assembly District, said he introduced the bill after Democrats took over both houses of the legislature in January. He argued that the state has been dragged 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,” DiPietro said. “There’s no jobs. And New York City controls this.”
The assemblyman said under his proposed bill (AO5498), New York would still be one state, but divided into three regions: New York City and its boroughs, the Montauk region with the downstate counties of Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland, and Westchester; and the rest of the state, dubbed “New Amsterdam.”
New York Republicans lost the state Senate in November after having controlled it for most of the past 50 years. DiPietro said the situation went from bad to worse when this happened.
A slew of liberal legislation has since been added: including tightening gun control laws, expanded late-term abortion access, and college financial aid eligibility for illegal immigrants. In February, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the state’s income tax revenues plummeted by $2.3 billion since he introduced his new budget plan.
“That’s a $2.3 billion drop in revenues. That’s as serious as a heart attack. This is worse than we had anticipated,” the governor said in Albany, according to the New York Post. “This reduction must be addressed in this year’s budget.”
State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, who appeared with Cuomo in the announcement, confirmed that the finances were not looking good.
“This is the most serious revenue shock the state has faced in many years,” he said.
It’s not the first time such an idea has been floated. Last month another Republican Sen. Daphne Jordan (R-N.Y), introduced legislation that would study whether upstate and downstate should be split into two separate entities.
“Whether it’s the issue of gun control, the DREAM Act, taxes and spending, parity in school or infrastructure funding, or even the choice for governor, the deepening divide—cultural, economic and political—between upstate and downstate has grown more pronounced every year. Many are asking whether both regions would be better off as separate entities,” Jordan said in a statement.
Her Senate Bill, S.3814, noted that the “upstate” region and a “downstate” region have “extremely divergent political and social views.”
“As these views continue to diverge, calls for these two regions to ‘part ways,’ have grown louder. Many, both upstate and downstate, have questioned whether these regions would be better off separately,” she continued.
Cuomo senior adviser Rich Azzopardi, meanwhile, hit back at the latest proposals.
“It’s the sort of divisive, unserious and sad pandering that was easy pickings for [Comedy Central’s] ‘The Daily Show,’” Mr. Azzopardi, referring to a 2009 episode mocking the Long Island secession movement, said in an email to the Washington Times.
Critics of DiPietro’s idea said the split would make the upstate region suffer financially since New York City and its surrounding counties generate most of the state’s income tax revenue.
But DiPietro disagrees.
“Without New York City, the rest of this state will take off like a rocket,” he said. “We’ll control our own resources, we’ll control the unfunded mandates that come from Albany on education, welfare reform, taxation, everything’s that geared toward New York City.”