With growing outrage over the state's plan to charge all drivers $25 for new license plates—up from the current $15 and up from $5.50 in 2001—Governor David Paterson said yesterday, "If the Legislature works with me, prior to the release of the 2010-11 Executive Budget, to identify real, recurring savings that will replace the revenue that would be lost, I will eliminate the new license plate requirement."
While the Department of Motor Vehicles claimed, "Periodically re-issuing plates is important for overall safety, law enforcement and the general integrity of the plate," the state hoped to raise $129 million from the plan, which would have also charged driver another $20 if they wanted to keep their license plate's letter/number combination. Upstate residents had complained that they were being forced to bear the brunt of the new fee, since there aren't as many city residents with cars.
A petition coordinated by county clerks at No New Plates picked up a lot of steam last week and the Times Union points out, "The governor's remarks came less than 24 hours before county clerks, mostly Republicans, were scheduled to march on Albany armed with 100,000 petition signatures against the new plates."
The State Legislature is also charged with figuring out how to deal with the $3.2 billion budget deficit—put another way, that license plate fee makes up 4% of the deficit.