Long Islanders are fed up with high taxes, this is nothing new. Now one Assemblyman has proposed a radical solution: secede from New York State and become the 51st state of the Union.
Republican Assemblyman Keith Brown of Long Island first made the statement about secession on the floor of the Assembly late last year as he and his colleagues debated a $32,000 pay raise.
Brown says Long Island is “an ATM for New York City” and claims it has enough money and local services to go it alone.
There has been secession talk for years, even decades, but it usually involves an upstate-downstate split, this time it’s a different kind of “divorce”.
According to Payscale, the median household income on Long Island is $118,500 in Nassau County and $106,225 in Suffolk County. By comparison, the national median is $65,700 and the New York median household income is $72,100. Based on this gap, some Long Islanders believe their tax money is going to fund New York City programs.
Another Long Island Assemblyman, Democrat Phil Ramos, calls the idea “insane” and says Long Island could not provide essential services like public protection and education without the money it gets from the state. He also says minority communities would be marginalized. New York City provides the bulk of the state’s tax revenue, so other parts of the state couldn’t go it alone.
Brown disagrees with this assessment and insists it could work. He has yet to put forward a secession bill. He’s also thinking that rather than becoming the 51st state, Long Island could possibly be annexed by Connecticut or Rhode Island. It remains to be seen whether those states would have any interest. All in all, it’s not a plan that inspires confidence or optimism.