BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Activists across Upstate New York who are in favor of dividing the state into two autonomous regions will rally in our area this coming weekend.
The Divide NY Caucus will host a rally at Bullard Park in Albion this Saturday, May 14, from 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Supporters of dividing the state say having two autonomous regions would allow Upstate to lower taxes, ease regulations, roll back gun restrictions and take other actions that are always blocked by Downstate lawmakers.
The caucus would divide the state at the New York City suburbs. Westchester and Rockland Counties would join the New York City boroughs and Long Island. That region would keep the "New York" name. The rest of the state would become "New Amsterdam."
Such a move is a long shot, as it would require quite a few steps.
First, voters would have to approve a Constitutional Convention. Whether or not to have a convention is already on the ballot for November 2017. If approved, convention delegates would have to pass an amendment to divide the state. Finally, voters would have to approve that amendment.
Critics of the plan from the Divide NY Caucus are quick to point out that Upstate receives more state government funding than its citizens collectively pay in taxes.
Governor Cuomo also countered the argument that Downstate legislators don't represent the interests of Upstate.
"You can say the inverse," Governor Cuomo told WHEC, our NBC affiliate in Rochester. "Why should the Upstate legislators care about Downstate, right? My point as governor and my job as governor frankly is to make sure the entire state does well."