Conklin, NY – The Upstate New York Towns Association is probing into the possibility of seceding from NY to PA for several reasons. The main factors are high property taxes, low sales tax revenue and state’s recent decision banning hydraulic fracturing.
Town Supervisor Jim Finch says, “The Southern tier is desolate. We have no jobs-no income for anybody… and the richest resource we have is in the ground.”
Finch believes that the ban is pretty much a violation of his natural rights as a property owner. The ground is rich with natural gas in the Marcellus Shale. However, they are unable to tap that resource.
According to the towns Association, 15 towns are interested in the secession contained within Broome, Delaware, Tioga and Sullivan counties.
The association made the point of comparing taxes and the cost of doing business in the two states. Expenses like workers compensation, surcharges, unemployment and health insurance are all strong factors.
“We’re comparing the taxes in Pennsylvania compared to those in New York,” said Finch. “There’s a great, great difference. Right now, we are being deprived of work, jobs and incomes.”
This secession would have to be approved by not only the New York State Legislature, but the Pennsylvania State Legislature and the U.S. government.
Finch told the reporter that final straw was broken the day Governor Andrew Cuomo said that he was going to ban gas drilling.
Gov. Cuomo recently responded to questions about lifting the ban which was urged by his top aides on December 17th – saying, “I would never” lift the state’s ban on the controversial hydraulic drilling process. According to a Quinnipiac University poll conducted back in December, it revealed that about half of New York voters approved the ban. The governor responded to relevant questions on a radio interview that same day,
‘I don’t think jobs should have to come at the cost of public health, and we can come up with an economic development strategy for the Southern Tier that develops the economy, produces jobs, but doesn’t put public health at risk.’
Two local business owners in Conklin were asked about the proposal of a secession by Action News. John Gage, owner of Reliable Market supports the idea of cutting ties to NY said,
“The tax structure in New York is just horrible to do business in,” said Gage. “Whether it’s fracking, or other reasons to secede, it sounds like a good idea to me.”
On the other hand, store owners have additional concerns regarding the specifics of their livelihood in terms of seceeding.
“From my standpoint, owning a liquor store, [having a NY liquor license] if we were a part of Pennsylvania it would be hard,” said Francis Larkin, owner of Spirits of Conklin.
Due to Pennsylvania privatizing all liquor sales, Larkin is unsure how that would affect the future of his business.
Several states have recently attempted the idea of calling it Splitsville. Last year, Florida residents proposed splitting off to become the 51st state because they felt a lack of representation at the state capitol.
In 2013, rural counties in Colorado felt that their way of life was under attack by lawmakers in the state capitol.
N.Y. Sen. Thomas Libous (R) recently sent out a flyer in the mail, asking his constituents for their thoughts on the secession. He later released this statement to the news outlet:
After the one-two punch to our community from the recent casino and gas drilling decisions, my office received many emails, phone calls and messages from constituents calling for a Southern Tier secession from New York State. While getting my constituents’ opinion on spending the $5 billion surplus was our top priority, I thought a question on secession should also be included in the survey.
New York is not new to irritating residents to the point of secession. Earlier this month, news of New York City becoming its own state was buzzing on social media.This was in response to not just the controversial hydraulic drilling issue, but many overreaching government laws imposed by both Governor Cuomo and Mayor DeBlasio. This is creating growing tensions between the two culturally, geographically and economically distinct regions. We can be sure that we have not heard the last of the discussion of secession in New York.
The Libertarian Republic will continue to keep on eye on this as it develops.