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New York's decline ; Albany's fingerprints are on state's ongoing loss of congressional seats

The sad but predictable news is that New York will lose two of its 29 seats in the House of Representatives, and in doing so, reach a 180-year low in Congress.

Blame Albany.

Not only are we losing jobs and population because of Albany's policies, but federal political clout, as well. Early numbers from the 2010 census document New York's fall. Without changes in state government, it will be worse still in another 10 years.

New York grew by a mere 2.1 percent, or more than 401,000 people, during the last decade, while Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse all lost population -- increasing the likelihood that vanishing House seats will be taken out of our hide.

Even more disturbing is the prospect of the Democratic-controlled Assembly and upcoming Republican-controlled Senate drawing new districts. Their politically driven undertakings have hurt upstate in the past, including 2002 when Western New York suffered the loss of Rep. John J. LaFalce, D-Town of Tonawanda.

It's incumbent upon Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and incoming Senate Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos to ensure that upstate doesn't continue to get penalized for policies that lean more heavily in favor of downstate.

The process must be vetted by incoming Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who pushed during the campaign for an independent panel. More than that, the new governor must ensure an honest redistricting process that respects municipalities and neighborhoods rather than partisan allegiances.

Albany caused this mess. Its inability to control spending, together with its slavish devotion to special interests, have sent businesses in search of greener pastures. They exist in the South and the West, where congressional representation will increase at our expense.

The only hope now is for a fair and independent redistricting process and, ultimately, changes in Albany powered by an incoming governor never at a loss for ideas.

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