Secession for New York City

Thursday, January 31, 2008

The feisty and independent spirit of Fernando Wood once again animates political debate in New York city:

Emboldened by Mayor Bloomberg’s testimony in Albany this week that the city’s taxpayers pay the state $11 billion a year more than they get back, a City Council member is offering legislation that would begin the process of having New York City secede from New York State. …

“Not only is it about self-determination and self-rule, but it’s about fairness,” Mr. Vallone said. “It’s something we see every year in the budget. They take $11 billion from us and give us back a mere pittance and they make it seem like they’re doing us a favor to give that pittance back. Somehow they missed the point that that is New York City’s own tax money and we deserve it.”

Mr. Vallone’s legislation would create a commission to study the issue and then recommend whether to put it to a referendum. Since secession would have to be approved by the Albany legislators, its passage would be unlikely. Another to council member, Simcha Felder, who chairs the Governmental Operations committee, said the bill will be considered this year.

“It certainly has merit,” Mr. Felder said of the proposal. “Why in the world should New York City be held hostage to the state? It just doesn’t make sense.”

Why, indeed? For that matter, why should any people, any city, any region be forced to submit to a regime it can no longer support? If we are truly free, then we are free to go our own way—as this politician proclaimed in 1848 regarding the secession of Texas from Mexico:

“… any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. . . . Nor is this right confined to cases in which the whole people of an existing government may choose to exercise it. Any portion of such people, that can, may revolutionize, and make their own of so much of the territory as they inhabit.”

And he was right. The next few years will see a rebirth of self-determination as the old power structure collapses under the weight of its own corruption, waste, and spiralling irrelevancy.

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