California made the news Monday when the founders of New California read their declaration of Independence from California.  They say that the expanse of the current California boundaries is ungovernable with high taxes that do not give back essential basic services such as education, infrastructure, health care, and law enforcement.  They don't want to secede from the United States.  They want to become the 51st state and at the same time secede from the state of California.  "After years of over taxation, regulation, and mono party politics the State of California and many of it’s 58 Counties have become ungovernable," their press release read.

California is often a leader in national movements.  Maybe New York should be looking at a similar move.  After all we 'upstaters' are always complaining that most of our tax money is sucked into New York City for proliferate social programs.  Of course, creating a new state here would bring its own unique problem.  New York is already new, compared to old York in England.  So what do we call it?  New New York?  New Upstate New York?  New New York York?

There is also this: "New York City and the Downstate Suburbs “give” far more to Albany in taxes and other revenues than they “get” in state-funded expenditures. The Capital Region and the Rest of State, by contrast, get significantly more than they give. These conclusions hold under any of several alternative methodologies this study employs for regional allocation of the personal income tax and selected expenditures."

That's a conclusion of a Rockefeller Institute study published in 2011 that showed 45% of state revenues came from New York City, but the city only receives 40% of expenditures.  The suburbs provided another 27% in taxes and revenues, receiving about 10% less for education, state payroll expenses, education, and so on.

New California - New York
New California (map: newcaliforniastate.com) and New New York?

If you take out New York City and its suburbs plus the Capital Region around Albany, you get the rest of us, about 31% of the state population, receiving about 35% of state money, while paying about 23%.  So that old argument doesn't seem to hold water.  But even if we are getting more than our share of state expenditures, is the money well spent?

Here in Lansing we were especially sensitive to Albany's GAP Elimination that, according to school districts promised a certain amount of state aid, then refused to cough it up.  Albany called this responsible budget adjustment to balance the People's books.  School officials called it taking money away from children.

Then there are our roads and bridges.  The State has acknowledged there is an infrastructure crisis, and while the Department Of Transportation (DOT) does a good job when they can, they are also severely under-budgeted for the scope of projects that our crumbling infrastructure increasingly demands.  We currently have a beautifully repaved East Shore Drive (State Rte 34) in the Town of Lansing, but for years before it was repaved the State's idea of fixing the rather large potholes in that road was to erect signs that read 'Rough Road'.

Talk to any county official in the state and they will tell you county governments are unfairly saddled with the burden of Medicaid funding, something they say the State should be paying.  It does bring up the argument that progressive taxes, paid for by people who can afford it because they have larger incomes (rather than property tax, which has less to do with affordability and more to do with whether property-owners can hold on to what they have), should pay for state-mandated social programs because it is fairer that way.

So in Upstate New York the question isn't whether tax distribution is fair so much as whether the current government is doing a good job of spending our money.  Albany is such a political morass that it is hard to tell... or maybe not: Wallethub published an analysis last March that ranked New York in the bottom ten (# 46 out of 50) for taxpayer Return On Investment (ROI).  The worst was North Dakota, and the best was new Hampshire.  Believe it or not, Florida was ranked #3 (lower numbers are better).

New York ranked 42 in 'Total Taxes pair per Capita' and 31 in 'Overall Government Services'.  our state was in the bottom five for hospital systems and water quality.  The State ranked 22 in education, 32 in Health, 12 in safety (that's pretty good), and 36 in economy, and had the worst ranking of 50 in 'Infrastructure and Pollution'.
That's a good argument for pulling out of New York State.  New New York York could be the 52nd state, after number 51, New California.  Surely we can do better.

How about The Rest of New York?  Newer York?  Newest York?  NutriYork?