BINGHAMTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – An interest group representing upstate towns is researching whether it is possible for some municipalities to secede from New York state and join Pennsylvania, according to a published report.

CBS affiliate WBNG-TV, Binghamton reported this week that the Upstate New York Towns Association is researching the subject, over issues such as high property taxes, low sales tax revenue, and a decision back in December by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration to ban hydraulic fracturing or “fracking.”

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The station reported the Towns Association cited 15 municipalities as being interested in quitting New York state for Pennsylvania. The association did not name the towns in the station’s report, but did say they are in Broome, Delaware, Sullivan, and Tioga counties.

Conklin Town Supervisor Jim Finch told WBNG that the Southern Tier of New York state – which includes many of the counties mentioned – is “desolate” and lacking in jobs, but rich with natural gas in Marcellus shale. Fracking is the natural gas extraction technique that uses water, sand and chemicals to blast gas from such deposits deep underground.

WBNG reported the association is comparing the cost of doing business between New York state and Pennsylvania and has noticed a major difference.

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Issues such as workers’ compensation, surcharges, health insurance and unemployment are also under consideration by the Towns Association, the station reported.

State Sen. Tom Libous (R-Binghamton) recently released a “pocketbook” survey that included a question about possible towns seceding. The survey question asked a yes-or-no question: “Some Kirkwood and Conklin residents want those towns to secede to Pennsylvania. Would you support that?”

Libous told WBNG in a statement that his top priority in the survey was getting residents’ opinion on using a $5 billion payment to the state from bank settlements and fines, but the secession question was included because many residents had contacted his office about the subject.

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To go ahead, any secession plan would have to be approved by the New York and Pennsylvania state legislatures and the U.S. government, WBNG reported.