By Senator Patty Ritchie
It was a nearly ten years ago when Albany decided it wanted to nickel and dime hardworking New Yorkers by crafting a plan to force taxpayers into purchasing new license plates for their motor vehicles.
At the time, I was serving as the St. Lawrence County Clerk and like those I served, I felt that not only was this a cash grab by Albany, but one that would unfairly hit those of us upstate, many of which were already struggling to pay for the essentials, such as food and medications.
I decided to start an online petition against this plan.
Hundreds of thousands of signatures later, the New York Legislature took notice and decided to scrap it.
Now a decade later, after already raising taxes by $2 billion this year, Albany is looking to bring this bad idea back.
Under this new plan, which seems like a bad April Fool’s joke, but unfortunately is not, beginning on April 1, 2020, three million drivers with license plates that are 10 years or older, will automatically get new plates when they renew their registration.
The catch is, the plates will come with a $25 fee, in addition to the registration renewal cost.
The plan also calls for an additional $20 fee to keep the plate number you already have.
It is estimated New York State can take in an additional $75 million in higher registration fees next year alone.
According to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, replacing old plates will eliminate legibility issues for law enforcement as well as automated toll systems.
While I understand the need to replace peeling plates, as well as to ensure that plates can be read by automated tollbooths and law enforcement, I strongly disagree with asking New Yorkers to open their wallets and pay yet another unnecessary fee.
In light of this decision, I have decided to once again show New York Lawmakers that New Yorkers refuse to be the state’s ATM.
I have launched a new online petition, calling for Albany do what it did ten years ago and hit the brakes on its new plate plan.
The petition can be signed by visiting my website at www.ritchie.nysenate.gov.
I am hopeful that people will again join me, sign my petition and stop Albany’s plan to increase costs for drivers across our state.