The US also has regions which are economic backwaters compared to the places where decisions are made, the difference is just that the federal and state governments end up having to provide a certain amount of funding to keep the lights on. Still, having your lights kept on while the regulations and economy are set to someone else's convenience and your detriment are no fun. People are not happier stuck on handouts than they would be with a good job in a thriving local economy.
This struck me tangentially while reading a Megan McArdle piece on New York State's decision to raise the minimum wage for workers at fast food chains with 30 or more locations to $15/hr -- a decision which probably makes a lot of sense in the affluent parts of the state near New York City, but rather less so in the northern and western parts of the state where average wages and cost of living are much lower.
I've joked that New York state is "West Virginia lashed to Connecticut," but economically, that description is not far off. The rural north is so economically depressed that prisons are fondly regarded as sources of employment, and the deindustrializing western portion of the state has many of the same problems, plus large brownfield areas from long-departed factories that no one can afford to clean up, and a structural overhang of buildings, government programs and people left over from flusher times. The more young people depart in search of work elsewhere, the worse the problems become, as the depleted tax base struggles to provide for the old and the poor who have been left behind.
It's not fair to say that these problems are all caused by Albany. Upstate New York is a cold, snowy place far from the coast, and those places have been declining for decades. On the other hand, it is completely fair to say that Albany has made the problem much worse, by layering on taxing, spending and regulatory mandates that may be affordable in a downstate region driven by easy-flowing financial industry profits, but are catastrophic in a region struggling to hold onto its last manufacturing jobs. And Albany's policies make it impossible for upstate to leverage the assets it does have -- such as an incredible number of colleges graduating educated workers, and lower wages that could potentially attract new businesses -- into some sort of recovery.
Being a west coast boy, I always kind of forget that New York state is quite large and mostly unlike New York City -- though California is much the same, with vast swathes of sparsely populated inland areas (with an agricultural economy) seeing their state run by a few densely populated cities on the coast. The layout and history of New York are different, but disparity is similar. Buffalo and Rochester are about as close geographically to Cleveland and Pittsburgh as they are to New York City, and in economy they're much close to the rust belt metropolises than to the finance, fashion and media empires of the city.