Every time NY State politics gets heated, we get to rehash the economics of NYC declaring itself independent from the state. During his NYC budget speech last week, Bloomberg pointed out (again) how NYC pays more than $11 billion in state taxes it doesn't get back. Almost on cue, after Governor Spitzer revealed a budget with less NYC funding, proponents of NYC independence piped up. Notably, Queens Councilman Peter Vallone:
"I think secession's time has definitely come again," Mr. Vallone, who spearheaded a similar push in 2003, told The New York Sun yesterday. "If not secession, somebody please tell me what other options we have if the state is going to continue to take billions from us and give us back pennies. Should we raise taxes some more? Should we cut services some more? Or should we consider seriously going out on our own?"
Vallone also said in 2005 that secession "may be our only viable option."
While this is an evergreen issue in New York politics, in our opinion, NYC has a lesser chance of becoming a 51st State than the five boroughs becoming unconsolidated. It's fun to talk about, but the last time an area of the U.S. tried seceding, it ended finally, but unhappily.
And before Vallone or anyone else blows a gasket talking about secession, let's try to remember that it was the Erie Canal in upstate NY, that enabled NYC to become the economic powerhouse in the United State that it is today. Before that, the city was an also-ran to cities like Philly and Boston.
Also, it was upstaters who guaranteed the issuance of a Bill of Rights to the Constitution, while downstate merchants were clamoring for untrammeled federal consolidation of the colonies. We're all in this big crazy state together; let's try to keep it together.
Elsewhere, WCBS880 is soliciting ideas for an alternate name for NYC if we secede from the Empire State, and notes that Peter Vallone says that without the five boroughs, the rest of the state is economically Arkansas.