Many upstaters are fuming over the recent refusal by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, to lift a 6-year-old de facto moratorium on hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas. The industry is booming in neighboring Pennsylvania but been stunted in an upstate region, which is struggling from the loss of manufacturing jobs.
The Cuomo administration is waiting until next year for the results of a state health study, but Mr. Bergener said those in the Southern Tier and other areas that would benefit from oil and gas drilling suspect a political motivation.
“The theory is that our current governor doesn’t want upstate to grow because then you’d get more Republicans,” Mr. Bergener said.
Upstate conservatives also were steamed over the governor’s Jan. 17 declaration that pro-lifers “have no place in the state of New York.”
Meanwhile, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposal for a tax increase on wealthy residents to pay for universal pre-kindergarten in the five boroughs has been criticized by state officials, including Mr. Cuomo, who say it would widen the gap between upstate and downstate.
“I know the ‘tale of two cities.’ The answer to the tale of two cities is not to create two states,” Mr. Cuomo said in a WNYC radio interview Friday.
Of course, that’s where he and members of the two-regions coalition disagree.
“It’s an unusual idea,” said Mr. Bergener. “I’ve searched and I can’t find anyone else who’s tried this before. So we’re the first.”