Perhaps nostalgic for the license plates of yore as well as being desperate for revenue, NY State rolled out a new license plate redesign that will be required for pretty much all vehicles, new and old, starting next year. The "Empire Gold" license plate, in gold with dark blue lettering, will replace the current white plate with the Niagara falls and city skyline elements and the cost will be another $25 for registration renewals and new registrations. Plus, if you want to your current letter and number license combination, that'll be another $20!
The State Department of Motor Vehicles says, "Periodically re-issuing plates is important for overall safety, law enforcement and the general integrity of the plate. License plate visibility tends to decrease as license plates lose their reflectivity and become marred and damaged from use. The legibility and reflectivity of the current Empire plate, which was issued beginning in 2001, was only guaranteed for up to 5 years. Current plates will have been in use for 10-11 years by the time they are replaced by the new Empire Gold plates." Safety and law enforcement aside, over $120 million will be raised by the license plate change, which will then go into a general state fund. The switch will start in April; more details from the DMV here.
An upstate county clerk against the change told the NY Times, "You really don’t need reflective material on your license plate with all the new cars — they’ve got plenty of reflectors and running lights on the side. It’s really a burden. We need to take a stand for the people." Another said that upstate was being unfairly targeted, "We need cars to get to schools, doctor’s appointments, grocery stores. There’s no other way to get around. A car is our livelihood."