PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WCAX) Could New York become two states? A newly proposed bill in the state Senate aims to break up the Empire State. Our Kelly O'Brien took to the streets to see what New Yorkers think about it.
Could you imagine 51 states in the USA?
"I don't think it's a wise idea," said John Voltra of Plattsburgh.
That could be New York's fate if there is enough interest in a newly proposed bill.
"What this bill proposed would do is to take a nonbinding referendum on the ballot to see if there is interest in doing it," said Assemblyman D. Billy Jones, D-Chateaugay.
So, what do folks in the North Country have to say?
"I think it should be one state, not only historically but let's not complicate things more," said William Crosby of Beekmantown.
"New York was built from New York City all the way up to here and Montreal," said John Voltra of Plattsburgh.
"That would be great," said Lucinda LaFountain of Plattsburgh. "New York City they can do away with."
Under the proposal, New York City and surrounding counties would be considered downstate. The rest of New York would be upstate. Supporters of the idea say New York is a very large and very diverse place, with many distinct cultural, economic and historical regions.
"It's very interesting," Jones said. "I know people in my district and in the North Country have a lot of ideological differences with people in New York City. There are a lot of things that affect us that affect them differently. So, I do think it's interesting."
"I think it's a little of each. Yeah, downstate has a bigger population, so more money probably ends up going there per capita. More population, area-- that may be fair. But I think upstate has been treated fairly well," Crosby said.
Others feel that the major city is hurting the North Country.
"We wouldn't if we didn't have New York City, I think we could survive," LaFountain said.
The bill will be on the ballot for voters to see how much public interest there is in the divide.
"I would say there's always a possibility," Voltra said. "Today you can't predict how people are going to vote."
One thing everyone could agree on is we need more people coming to the North Country and jobs to keep them here.
"If they could somehow bring businesses up farther north, it's just there's not work for people. We need work," said Sandra Greenwood of Fort Jackson.
The bill is currently in committee but has not made it on the floor.