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Linda  Tagliaferro

Should Long Island Become A State?

By May 6, 2009

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A recent article in The New York Times, Longing for the State of Long Island, talks about Suffolk County comptroller Joseph Sawicki Jr.'s suggestion that Long Island should become its own state. He pointed out that Long Island sends New York State $8.1 billion in taxes, but only gets back $5.2 billion.

Another New York Times article mentioned Island resident Cesidio Tallini, who writes on his blog, Independent Long Island, about his view that Long Island should secede from the United States and form a nation of its own.

What do you think? Should Long Island disengage itself politically from New York State, and become its own state? Is it a crazy idea, or does it make perfect economic sense? Should Long Island go so far as to become its own nation apart from the U.S.? Please leave your comments here.

May 6, 2009 at 12:35 pm
(1) Royal Edan says:

Absolutely. Humans prefer smaller governmental groups and more personal leaders; this is impossible for even a large state.

May 6, 2009 at 1:20 pm
(2) HMRD Cesidio Tallini says:

It is incredible we think nothing of hoisting the banner of New York City, New York State, or even of the United States with great patriotic fervour on many occasions throughout the year, yet a flag representing the entire island of Long Island does exist, and is completely meaningless to us.

We seem to have a father figure with Uncle Sam, even though Sam now deserves to be “thrown out of the house” like a deadbeat dad, with all the employment opportunities he provides directly, or through the well-kept whores called US corporations. Towards our mother, however, the one that gives us a home, clean water, the sun’s rays, nurturing warmth, and beautiful gardens and beaches, we reserve no equivalent matriotic sentiment. We are all a bunch of sexist pigs in this regard, and we don’t even realise it!

I say charity starts at home, and it only makes sense today, because our standard of living has been actually sliding backwards since the late 1990s.

I say that if one should be indulgent with nationalistic sentiment, it makes more sense towards your true neighbour living in Brooklyn or in Suffolk County, than towards uppity Manhattanite Mayor Bloomberg, who will raise taxes on people in Brooklyn already struggling to survive, but who will not raise taxes on himself, and all the other extremely wealthy folks. How convenient!

I say your neighbour lives in Nassau County or Queens, not in Albany. My book shows that even when we were all Native Americans here on Long Island, Indians living around Albany were not friendly tribes, but taxing and belligerent ones.

Finally, I care more about the fate of the Peconic River than of the Potomac River.

Let’s create a culture that allows us to prosper, not one that makes our children destitute.

Let’s honour the land under our feet, not some essentially foreign land called Washington, DC, the only place in the US that is not suffering the economic downturn, by the way.

Let’s understand that a divided Long Island is not just bad for us, but it is also a metaphor for our equally divided world.

May 6, 2009 at 1:34 pm
(3) William Cerf says:

I am part of the small Independent Long Island movement, along with the man you mention in your article; Cesidio Talini. Some day Long Island (which I pronounce as Long Guy Land) will either be a separate jurisdiction within the State of New York, the 51st State or a completely sovereign new nation. I consider Long Island to be Nassau, Suffolk, Kings (Brookly) and Queens Counties. Look at a geographical map and you will notice that this area is one of the largest islands in the world with an economy that could be truly vibrant if it were released from the current nanny state. While you are laughing, think hard about the future possibilities.

William Cerf
Flatbush/Ditmas Park
Brooklyn, NY

May 6, 2009 at 1:38 pm
(4) William Cerf says:

I am involved along with the man mentioned previously, Cesidio Talini. If you look at a geographical map you will notice that what is currently the counties of Nassau, Suffolk, Queens and Kings (Brooklyn) is a large island. In fact it is one of the largest islands in the world and has an incredible economic base. It could easily become a separate jurisdiction within the State of New York, a 51st State or a completely sovereign nation. While you are laughing, just think about the possibilities of being liberated from the nanny state.

May 6, 2009 at 5:55 pm
(5) longisland says:

Thanks so much for your comments, Royal Edan, Cesidio Tallini and William Cerf. You’ve all made some really interesting points.

If Long Island became its own state, how much more money would this mean for residents?

If Long Island became its own nation, how would it support itself?

Does anyone else out there agree or disagree with our readers who left comments?

May 6, 2009 at 11:31 pm
(6) W.R. says:

This sounds ridiculous. How would we be self sustaining? There are not enough jobs on Long Island. A large percentage works in Manhattan. That is the reason the Long Island Railroad is able to continue to exist. How else would we bring in money? The fishing industry? No. Enough farms? NO. Wineries–Maybe. Power? Not there yet. Tourism. No. We can’t even get through rush hour each day. We pay enough taxes… State, Federal, County, School, Village etc. We pay enough in tolls just to get in and out of this Island. It would be worse. I’m open to hear other points of view though……

May 7, 2009 at 10:41 am
(7) Deb C. says:

I would interested in seeing a real study done to determine if and how we could survive as our own state. I agree we pay way too much in taxes and we just don’t get enough of a return. Perhaps if “real” LI’ers (you know what I mean) took an interest in statehood it would help us look to the future with hope. It would help us all get off our duffs and do what has to be done. It would push us to get wind farms up and producing, increase the advertising and caliber of our wineries, revitalize main streets, push us to keep open land reserved and preserved as well as keep our beaches clean. Not only are these things vital to Long Island’s economic survival, they are vital to OUR survival as well.

May 7, 2009 at 12:23 pm
(8) longisland says:

To W.R. and Deb C.,

Thanks so much for your comments. I hope you’ll come back again to this discussion and others.

W.R., you make a good point about how we’d be self sustaining.

And Deb C., I agree that it would be interesting to see if any studies were done to show the consequences of Long Island statehood or an independent LI.

Does anyone out there know of studies like this?


Linda Tagliaferro
Your Guide to Long Island

May 7, 2009 at 10:52 pm
(9) HMRD Cesidio Tallini says:

Before we answer the question as to whether Long Island would be self-sustaining, we should ask ourselves whether the United States is self-sustaining, and one good look at where most of the stuff we buy in stores comes from would quickly answer that question.

Okay, so it is pretty obvious that the United States isn’t self-sustaining despite its humongous size. Should we then join with Canada and Mexico in a great North American Union in order to improve our chances of self-sustainability?

I don’t think anyone reading this would like that scenario!

That hypothesis also shows that keeping Long Island dependent on both New York City and New York State simply because it isn’t entirely self-sufficient for either jobs or other resources is an equally bad idea, whether you like the idea of a two- or four-county 51st state, a totally independent four-county country, or you prefer things just the way they are.

It is true that Long Island is heavily dependent on New York City, but that doesn’t mean we can’t change that or at least improve our circumstances.

As the Wikipedia states, “Long Island is home to the East Coast’s largest industrial park, the Hauppauge Industrial Park. The park has over 1,300 companies employing more than 55,000 Long Islanders.” I think that if we started to develop a spine, and we became less doormats of both Manhattan and Albany, we could even improve this statistic, and improving this would also relieve the substantial tax burden on homeowners, besides providing jobs closer to where we live.

Even though Brooklyn is actually part of New York City, so independence there is even harder to develop or fathom, it maintains its own personality. Brooklyn is characterised by cultural diversity, an independent art scene, distinct neighbourhoods, and a unique architectural heritage. Kings County is clearly dependent on Manhattan for jobs, but it also generates many jobs in services, retailing and construction. Many financial back office operations, support services, and high technology entertainment businesses from Manhattan have moved to Brooklyn. If they can maintain a degree of independence from Manhattan, and they are so close to Manhattan they can very easily walk there over the Brooklyn Bridge, don’t you think Long Islanders of Queens, Nassau, and Suffolk have an even better chance to achieve a degree of autonomy or independence, especially if we start working together as neighbours?

Whatever you think about these issues, one thing is clear: the system of taxation which heavily exploits Long Islanders of four counties, and generally benefits New York County (aka Manhattan) and New York State (aka Albany) is not sustainable, nor is the United States sustainable in any way as it is being run today, and in this case largely for the benefit of a few superpork barrel states and Washington, DC.

May 8, 2009 at 10:59 am
(10) longisland says:

Thanks for your insights, Cesidio.

I’d like to hear from more of you out there. Does anyone agree or disagree with these ideas?


Your About.com Guide to Long Island

May 8, 2009 at 9:53 pm
(11) LI Statehood says:
May 9, 2009 at 9:25 am
(12) John says:

The concept is ok. Unfortunately it can only be Nassau and Suffolk for it to work. There is no reason to secede it Brooklyn and Queens are involved mostly due to great cultural differences. Drive across the Nassau and Queens line and you will know what I mean.
Another reason is economic. One, many people in Brooklyn and Queens are on welfare/Medicaid. We can’t form a new state or country where 1 million of its 7-8 million residents are on public assistance.
Agriculture/ Industry balance – All four counties will have to import a great amount of its food without a significant enough industry to purchase the imports.
After breaking from NYC companies will need to be attracted to Long Island. Why would they come? Nassau and Suffolk have a chance with the industry it already has, and the agriculture it already has.
Nassau and Suffolk I think should form its own state because we are completely neglected by our state; we pay a sick amount of taxes, have a much lower rate of public assistance, have good schools and have decent industry/ agriculture.
Sorry Blk/Queens people. But you know if all four counties are the new state Nassau and Queens schools will look like the ones in your counties. And Nassau/ Suffolk people will have to work twice as hard to pay for those used to living on the NYS dollar.

May 9, 2009 at 12:50 pm
(13) longisland says:

To the person who left the LI Statehood link: sorry, but the link doesn’t seem to work.

To John: Thanks for sharing your opinion. You’ve made some very good points.

Anyone else out there have an opinion on this topic?


May 11, 2009 at 2:15 pm
(14) John P says:

There is populism. And there also is realism. Populist ideas, no matter how unrealistic, always draw support. This populist idea will go nowhere, politically, so I have no interest in it.

May 11, 2009 at 8:15 pm
(15) segolene says:

i am a french woman from corsica and the same question came up on whether we could survive without the mainland (france). we depende so much on the mainland since we too are an island just like long island. i see many of the same parallels. perhaps long island can become a state and still use the LIRR for its commute but i am not sure about the resources. it sounds like a great movement if you can figure out to make long island self-sufficient. we could not do that in corsica but maybe Longisland will be luckier.

May 12, 2009 at 11:12 am
(16) bela says:

I believe Long Island can survive on its own.
How many people live in NJ and travel to Manhattan everyday to work, even those in Pennsylvania, and Connecticut. How many live in and around Philadelphia, in NJ, NY & Delaware and travel to Philly for jobs. Yes they pay a city tax but those of us who work in NYC have been there and will very soon be back. I really do not think much would change as far as employment is considered. Seemingly a mute point
Now for agriculture, well lets face it I have seen very little produce in the market made in NY alone. We would get the same products that are available now. Costco, BJs and Sams admit all the Stop and Shops would keep doing business just the same.
Now we have our own power, our own water supply, our own sewers or septic, Department of Health, Hospitals, our own police, fire, & emergency services. We have our own regulations on zoning codes and can adopt the National codes for building and fire prevention We have our own infrastructure so what are we waiting for? Yes there is still lots to work out i.e state universities (Stony Brook etc..) but that too would work itself out. We have one thing that the rest want and that is our own $$$$$. Any school is a business first and foremost.
Just my 2 cents leave Brooklyn and Queens to NYC They wanted it so they can deal with it now. We do not need their baggage.

May 12, 2009 at 12:29 pm
(17) longisland says:

Thanks to all, and especially to John, John P., Segolene and Bela, who wrote the latest comments.

I’d like to know more about what everyone thinks of Brooklyn and Queens –geographic Long Island–being included if LI became a state.

And again, what are some other ideas about whether Long Island could or could not sustain itself?

Thanks so much. Your comments are much appreciated.

btw, as I write more blog posts, the older ones get pushed down and eventually don’t show up. I’d like to continue this discussion on my forum at http://forums.about.com/n/pfx/forum.aspx?tsn=1&nav=messages&webtag=ab-longisland&tid=553
when this happens.

Thanks for sharing your comments!

Linda Tagliaferro
Your About.com Guide to Long Island

May 12, 2009 at 12:52 pm
(18) HMRD Cesidio Tallini says:

I love Bela’s optimism even though I disagree with the leaving Brooklyn and Queens out. Ultimately the 51st Statehood thing is more about doing certain things by yourself that are now done by Albany and/or New York County. No significant change, and perhaps for all the effort needed, and for all the advantages acquired, not even worth it. Our money would still end up subsidizing Upstate New York or other places. Real independence or countryhood, however, is another story. It doesn’t require you to stand completely on your own two feet (which country doesn’t import at least something from somewhere else?), but the more economic independence, the better. Lots of people now working on Wall Street will be working with an Independent Long Island (ILI) paradisaical currency (I’m not kidding), and not solely in US Dollars, and those working elsewhere in Manhattan will either have to find other kinds of employment (pretty easy when Brooklyn will be the Capital), or duplicate their activity in an independent business in ILI. This choice also makes sense if you want a cleaner environment, or if you want your children to have some control over their own destiny, while now they don’t even have any security through employment. Full independence would allow us to shape our own lives as we choose, perhaps even start a Renaissance in the process, and it doesn’t require overnight changes, or begging NYC, NYS, or the USA for permission. Independent Long Island declared its independence from the US in Sep. 2007 through a NYT article, but recently, on May 6, 2009, we also said it in Russian through one of the largest Russian daily newspapers, Moskovsky Komsomolets! We have a tiny movement compared to the one in Texas, but our governor is much smarter, and so we can make up for the lack of support. But could you imagine what we could do if 50-100 people volunteered a little of their time each week, and/or supported the movement with the money they now send to UNICEF or Greenpeace? They would be talking about the Governor of ILI on your TV, not just Obama, I can assure you, and you too, as an Ilier, would matter a lot more than you do as an American.

May 12, 2009 at 4:05 pm
(19) LIer says:

I prefer “associated republic” status for Long Island.

- We would retain US citizenship and free movement throughout the US and it’s territories.
- We would retain Social Security, Medicare, etc
- Washington DC would (MOST IMPORTANTLY) have control over foreign affairs and defense matters – we wouldent need to pay for our own defense force aside from maybe a regiment or brigade sized paramilitary special services unit within the new LI Police Service.

However, the Associated Republic of Long Island would control:

- customs and immigration aspects.
- law enforcement and internal security.
- judicial system/prisons/criminal justice
- healthcare
- education (we already have the Community Colleges, Stony Brook, Farmingdale, Old Westbury, Dowling, LIU, etc).
- taxation

- a single unified LI Fire & Rescue Service instead of 247 volunteer fire departments.

- a single unified LI Police Service, a LI Prison Service, unified LI Customs & Immigration, maybe a few other specialized agencies (ex. park rangers, conservation, etc). The sheriff functions would be split between an LI Prison Service an an LI Marshal’s Department.

It would be a win win on everything.

May 13, 2009 at 1:07 pm
(20) Long Islander says:

Honestly, I don’t like the idea at all. I don’t think we’d be able to survive as a separate state.

May 14, 2009 at 8:50 pm
(21) LI Jeff says:

Personally I would like to see it happen. I think we could very well on our own. But NY would need a way to make up for that lost revenue. So they would raise the tolls for the bridges and tunnels, raise the fair on the LIRR, charge a extra fee for Long Islanders to use JFK and LaGuardia airports. We are trapped on this island. Brooklyn and Queens would not be affected because your EZ pass would do it automatically or you would need to show proof of NY residency. The other way they could redeem revenue would be if you work in NY but do not live there you would need to pay a new special tax to do so. And they could then do that for NJ & Conn. This way they would also become angry with LI and could increase there tolls for us also.

May 15, 2009 at 11:20 am
(22) longisland says:

Thanks to everyone for their interesting feedback on this important topic. Let’s continue this discussion. My older blog posts are automatically pushed down.. and eventually out… so please go to the forum to write more about this. You can either go to my home page and look on the left. You’ll see a little red “My Forum” link. Click on that and look for “Should Long Island Become A State?” Or go directly to
Should LI Become A State?”

July 14, 2009 at 12:27 pm
(23) Stefan Colton says:

I live in New York City, and we need to make key decisions (like controlling ridiciously high rents) and theres the billions of lost dollars. New York City needs that money. The rest of New York doesn’t even respect us. They get schools with swimming pools, we get schools that have to raise money for art and music. If Long Island becomes it own state, will New York City be its capital?

July 14, 2009 at 12:39 pm
(24) Stefan Colton says:

Oh. I just read the other comments. Why are Manhatten, Bronx, or Staten Island residents excluded from this? People from Long Island work in New York City, New York City Generates money, and New York City pays those workers

July 22, 2009 at 12:28 am
(25) Guy says:

If it isn’t broke don’t fix it…

November 22, 2009 at 1:49 am
(26) Joe says:

Guy, it is broken. Long Island gets the monetary scraps leftover after the mainland and NYC get their share. It results in humongous taxes for Long Islanders and very little to show for it.

I am really disliking this notion of succeeding from the nation idea. I grew up on Long Island and love it, but I am proud to be an American. Statehood, however, is a different story. If it results in lower taxes and a cleaner Long Island, without raising the costs of mass transit and tolls in and out, then I am all for it.

December 1, 2009 at 3:30 pm
(27) Paul says:

idk, why just long island? and if it can support itself, go for it, but i dont know about a whole new nation.. that just sounds obsurd…

March 5, 2010 at 12:50 pm
(28) Curt says:

Westchester, NYC & Long Island as a separate state or economic zone (like Hong Kong in China). We have enough in common with greater NYC that it would be silly not to include them and leaving out the other boroughs would open up a moneygrabbing toll increase. I’m all for independent statehood but it is more feasible to include the rest of Metro NY. And if Fairfield, Bergen, & Hudson counties (as well as any other bordering counties) want to leave their crumbling states to join us they are more than welcome as well.

April 2, 2010 at 1:24 am
(29) Karl says:

Definitely!! I mean first off, Long Island is just shy of one hundred square miles smaller than Rhode Island, but still!

June 29, 2010 at 9:07 am
(30) JACK says:


September 18, 2010 at 4:43 pm
(31) Joseph says:

I think it is time for Long Island to become the 51st State. Our argument is as meaningful as it was 234 years ago “taxation without representation”. Albany like England is taxing us without our concent, and I think it is not only unconstitutional but sickening at the same time. It only took 234 years for us to be having the same problems, but the sickening part is that it’s within the same nation not the “mother country”. We as Long Islanders need to get the ball rolling, get an orcastrated movement going. We cant rely on our elected officials to get things started, they only discuss. If anyone is interested respond to this blog and we can go from there.

December 4, 2010 at 9:45 pm
(32) Hayde says:

I’m not sure about this. It would mean New York City would stretch over state lines (which doesn’t make sense), and where would the capital be on Long Island? There’s really no space for it, no real towns to be named the capital. The only candidate I could see is Hicksville, and that’s far from my generous criteria. But, maybe Queens and Brooklyn could stay part of New York and the rest of Long Island could become its own state. I don’t know. I’m not in control of it.

December 4, 2010 at 11:40 pm
(33) longisland says:

Thanks for your comment, Hayde. Yes, there are a lot of considerations, as you said: a capital, NYC would stretch over state lines, etc.

Anyone else have an opinion?

Linda Tagliaferro
Your About.com Guide to Long Island

February 22, 2011 at 3:37 pm
(34) bryce says:

I want this to happen so badly. Long Island needs to become it’s own state and take NYC(ALL OF IT) with you.

This would drastically improve the quality of life upstate. We would no longer be taxed to death supporting Long Island and NYC, all while making less money for doing more work.

Upstate is being milked dry by these parasites! Hell I think Upstate should become its own state Real New York, or New Amsterdam to give a shout out to history.

June 18, 2011 at 5:54 pm
(35) Henry says:

Long Island should be an independent Republic.

June 27, 2011 at 8:35 am
(36) JeffJ says:

Long Island needs to become a state! We are never represented by our politicians, we are taxed way too much, we get nothing in return that we could not provide for ourselves with the state tax money.
What is most important is that we would have our politicians close to home, we would get our own federal funding, and consequently we could drasticly improve all our services!
Aren’t you tired of them closing our parks, losing state police,overdue budgets, high school taxes, and now we have gay marriage. We had our governor resign because of his hooker scandal, and got stuck with a half blind governor as a consolation prize, and our new governor never prosecuted Spitzer when anyone else would have been in jail!
Making Long Island its own state is a great opportunity for us to shape our own future, keep a better watch on our politicians and make Long Island a vibrant and safe place to live!
As for Queens and Brooklyn, they could be shared and be eventually phased in, so as to not entirely disrupt NYC, and we could own our MTA and not be mismanaged and overcharged.

July 20, 2011 at 3:56 pm
(37) B. Cook says:

After a bit of deliberation, I do believe leaving the whole US thing would be great!! Think of it, we get no representation now, so f the taxation. Furthermore, the US would protect us, since we are so close. so no need for a military. If the US decided not to protect us, we could threaten to become communist or allied to the Chinese. We could also swing a deal and get billions of support from the federal government to work with them on anti-terrorist networking projects,…Like Pakastan “used” to get. Our citizens would not get any welfare considerations from the US, so those people would move to Staten Island. All the freed up space around Amittyville to Freeport due to the loss of welfare dollars, could be bulldozed and made into a little disney like park with a pretty cool beach/resort area. With casino/waterpark and duty free shops..weeeee.

July 25, 2011 at 1:52 am
(38) matt says:

It will become 51 state of Long Island. I believe seven and half counties will custody by Long Island State government.
it will be Long Island regional. Traditional Long Island for Suffolk, Nassau, Queens and King ( Brooklyn ) and Long Island West for Staten Island, Long Island Central for Manhattan and Upper Long Island for Bronx and half county of Eastern Westchester ( New Rochelle, Rye, Pelham Manor and Eastchester ) Western Westchester County will be keep by New York State. you will must vote 51 statehood next time.

October 29, 2011 at 10:26 am
(39) Long island resident says:

The taxes we pay are ridiculous and we don’t get All of it back. I believe we should become our own state but not our own nation that would be going just a bit overboard. Yes we are a part of ny but we pay to much money. Becoming the 52st state will lower the taxes.

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