Time for UpstateExit?
Different groups have advocated splitting off upstate from the rest of New York without much success. But some may be emboldened to restart their cause after Great Britain voted Thursday to break off from the European Union.
Calls to break apart upstate from New York State have occurred over a long time, even though studies have shown that upstate regions would struggle more than they do now if a separate state government were created to represent the region.
Among the ideas floated:
The Upstate New York Towns Association made a pitch to shift several towns to Pennsylvania after the Cuomo administration banned hydraulic fracturing.
Others geared up to breakaway following the state’s expansion of the SAFE Act gun control laws several years ago. That went nowhere, too.
Another idea that made the rounds called for upstate to be called “New Amsterdam” with the rest of the state called “New York.” Under that theory, the state would be split into two regions, but not separate states, thus avoiding the need for ratification by Congress. At least one group is pushing that idea if voters in 2017 approve the convening of a convention to consider changes to the state Constitution.
Several of the groups and one state lawmaker involved did not return a call for comment Friday.
The idea of breaking up parts of New York has not always been generated from upstate. There was a push in the last couple decades to break off New York City from the rest of a state because many upstate communities are far more politically conservative. A Long Island lawmaker also once called for Nassau and Suffolk to leave the state in a dispute over state revenue sharing funding.
But one breakaway bid from New York did occur: Vermont, in 1777.