Secessionists held a rally today in Bainbridge, NY, but at least some of them don't actually want to secede from New York state. They'd rather join Pennsylvania or create an "autonomous region" that's ruled by Albany in name only—because full secession requires a hard-to-achieve act of Congress, Syracuse.com reports. With the "autonomous" plan, upstate New York would become "New Amsterdam" while downstate remains "New York," according to John Bergener Jr., chairman of the Divide New York State Caucus. "Our Secession plan calls for establishing a more republican form of government than total democracy NYS currently has which allows Downstate state to rule upstate," he writes in an email. A future "token" government, he adds, "would have about the same power as the Queen of England!"
With the "Pennsylvania" option, upstate New York would join its southern neighbors "best known for hydrofracking, the Amish people, and the despised Philadelphia Eagles," reports the Troy Record. So what's behind all this? Well, some upstate folks oppose Gov. Andrew Cuomo's ban on hydrofracking and his support for the gun-control NY SAFE act, which includes registering assault weapons and forbidding high-capacity magazines, the Gothamist reports. Others say property taxes are too high and sales tax revenue is too low, though a 2004 study found that upstate New York benefits financially from the Big Apple. Meanwhile, Sen. Joseph Robach has sponsored a bill for a referendum asking whether voters want to secede. "Though it seems clear the secession movement is doomed, the dream of an upstate without NYC will not die," says the Record. (In Texas, secessionists are a pretty quirky bunch.)