New York State Backs Down, New License Plates May Be Free

November 19, 2009

Last week we wrote about New York State's plan to issue new license plates, ostensibly to replace old ones whose reflective material may have worn off.

The new and clearly retro design was meant to evoke the bright yellow plates used from 1973 to 1986. But in reality, the sole purpose of the $25 new-plate fee (plus an additional $20 for owners to retain existing numbers) was purely to raise revenue.

Now, after more than 100,000 New Yorkers added their signatures to the protest website, the state has backed down. Somewhat.

Last Sunday, Governor David Patterson said he would drop his support for the plan if legislators work with him to generate an equivalent amount of new state revenue--in this case, $129 million--from other sources to address the state's massive budget deficit.

And leaders of both houses of state government, the Senate and the Assembly, vowed to repeal the new fees before April 1, when they were to take effect.

In other words, when we predicted that New Yorkers would "will pay the money and mount their new plates while grumbling about it" ... we were wrong. Chalk up one for beleaguered car owners in the Empire State.

[The New York Times, New York State DMV press release and FAQs]

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