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Nov 24, 2009 1:05 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Residents, lawmakers balk at $25 fee for license plates

Nov 24, 2009 1:05 PM

Hundreds of Long Island residents have registered protests on State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle’s website over a new $25 fee on New York State license plates, which has prompted state lawmakers including Mr. LaValle to push for the fee to be repealed.

Mr. LaValle, who represents the East End, explained this week that Governor David Paterson included the $25 fee, which all New Yorkers would have to pay when their vehicle registrations expire, in his 2009-10 budget—a spending plan Mr. LaValle did not vote to approve. The fee would channel about $130 million into New York state’s coffers, helping chip away at a $3.2 billion budget deficit.

Now Mr. Paterson appears to be having second thoughts, Mr. LaValle said.

“The governor seems to be backing away because of the citizen participation we as legislators have generated,” he said. “The people are so angry about this.

“There’s no rational basis for doing it, and people understand that it’s a money grab and nothing else,” Mr. LaValle went on to say.

Mr. LaValle said hundreds of Long Island residents signed a petition opposing the license plate fees on his website.

Two Waldbaum’s employees from Southampton spoke out against the proposed fees Tuesday night.

“I feel that that’s crappy,” said Laura Islami, explaining that she thinks $25 is too much for a new license plate.

Brianna MacFarlane also said the $25 fee was too much to fork over for something as trivial as a new license plate. “I understand why they’re doing it,” Ms. MacFarlane said. “But there are other things that could be taxed.”

The fees are scheduled to go into effect on April 1; motorists whose registrations expire after that date would have to pay an additional $25 when they renew the registration of their cars. Regular registration renewals cost $55 per car. With the $25, they will also receive a new license plate, which has been redesigned. Mr. LaValle voted against those fee hikes.

According to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles website, the new bright yellow and bright blue license plates recall the New York State license plates of the 1960s and 1970s. The bright colors will also serve a safety function, according to a press release from the DMV.

The release states that the DMV issues new license plates every 10 years or so because the plates lose their reflectivity, as well as become marred and damaged from use. The reflectivity of the current blue-and-white New York State plate, which was issued in 2001, was guaranteed for only five years. By the time all 12 million New York State drivers have new license plates, it will have been approximately 11 years since the current plate was issued.

Because people register their cars every two years, it would take about that long until everyone had new plates, according to a press release from the DMV.

The DMV also states new plates make it easier for law enforcement officials to determine if drivers are complying with laws for vehicle registration and insurance requirements.

Despite what the DMV sees as benefits of a new license plate, Mr. LaValle emphasized that now is not the time to add a $25 fee to drivers, as other DMV fees already increased on September 1. According to a document from Mr. LaValle’s press secretary, Jean Segall, registration fees for all-terrain vehicles increased from $10 to $12.50. Registration fees for commercial vehicles, motorcycles, and motorboats are increasing, as well, Mr. LaValle said.

Instead of adding new fees and taxes onto drivers, Mr. LaValle recommended that Mr. Paterson cut the new programs he introduced into the budget.

“We should put those programs that we cannot afford on hold,” Mr. LaValle said. “That’s the easiest way to hold back.”

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I dont mind the $25.00 fee however the plate color choice is GOD AWFUL. Also to the author jessica, This same color plate was around til the late 80's early 90's. I had those ugly plates on my 1980 MGB.......
By gallerygirl (29), southampton on Nov 30, 09 5:51 PM
This has gone into effect already. I recently renewed a registration for one of my vehicles and I was charged an extra $50 for the 2 years required to register. This is absolutely ridiculous!! How much more do we have to take?
By L 7 (2), Southampton on Nov 30, 09 8:19 PM
2 members liked this comment