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Angry Long Island lawmakers have revived secession talks

Long Island feels put out and it might not take it anymore.

Angry Long Island lawmakers have revived talks about creating a separate Long Island state – saying Suffolk and Nassau Counties are suffering under a tyrannical government in Albany that milks the island of money and gives little back.

State Senator Kenneth LaValle and Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. are calling for a task force to study the feasibility of statehood, and Suffolk County legislators are considering endorsing the effort.

Now, this might seem ok to some city dwellers on first blush.  But imagine a New York without the Hamptons, vineyards or discount malls?

"The state of Long Island has always been a romantic idea, its been fun to talk about and exciting to discuss," Suffolk County Comptroller Joseph Sawicki told Newsday.

Sawicki, a Republican, first proposed the idea of secession in 1991 as a state Assemblyman. "Now, it's become a matter of economic survival," he said.

Secessionists said the final straw was last week's vote imposing a $1.5 billion payroll tax to help support the cash-starved Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

The measure calls for a 2010 ballot referendum in both counties asking whether they should leave the state.

There are no plans for an armed revolt, and under the constitution, Albany would have to sign off on any splinter state, which doesn't seem likely.

Economist Martin Cantor says Long Island taxpayers contribute $3 billion more to the state coffers than it gets back in state aid every year.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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