Political gulf between upstate and downstate can’t be bridged
The political and economic gulf between the residents of upstate and downstate New York has become so wide that it can’t be bridged, in my opinion.
So the simple solution would be to split New York starting at PA-NY border along the line dividing the Delaware watershed and the Susquehanna watershed then north through Little Falls, Herkimer County, then along the Black River through Lowville, Harrisville, Lewis County, and terminating on the NY-Ontario border at Morristown, St. Lawrence County; I admit that this line is somewhat arbitrary.
In order to keep the number of states at 50 and to try to preserve the current balance of power in the U.S. Senate (which would allay the concerns of the Democrats,) the western part of NYS would, with the consent of NY, Pennsylvania and the U.S. Congress, merge with PA. Assuming the average population of a Congressional district is 700,000, NY state would lose about 4 million people and six U.S. representatives (three Democrats and three Republicans before Chris Collins’s resignation).
Downstate NY would get most of the Catskill Mountain area which includes NY City’s watershed and all of the Adirondacks. Keeping the Adirondacks in this area, which would still be called NYS, would probably appease the downstate environmental lobby. There would be other details to work out such as divvying up the assets of the New York Power Authority and other assets currently spread out across NYS.
Pennsylvania would get the Susquehanna watershed headwaters along with more control over the Susquehanna Basin River Commission. The Marcellus Shale area that is currently off-limits to natural-gas exploration would be hydrofracked. The increased natural gas production and property values would probably improve the economy and increase tax revenues in PA. NYS would be more aligned with NYC (which is the de facto capital of NYS anyway) and would no longer bear the cost of keeping western NY financially afloat.
Barring an amicable divorce, every upstate town and county should vote on whether or not to secede from NYS. Those areas that vote to secede should then start to nullify unfunded state mandates and unfair laws (like the NY SAFE Act and the Red Flag law) as acts of civil disobedience. Hopefully these actions would speed up the divorce because of the potentially enormous cost to the state of trying to enforce the nullified mandates and laws.
CHARLES F. HEIMERDINGER