Assemblyman Pete Lopez (R, C, I – Schoharie) and county clerks from throughout our region called on Governor Paterson to make good on his promise to rescind the plan to require new license plates. The plan, which was enacted as part of the 2009-10 State Budget, has been facing stiff resistance from state and local officials and the public.
“The Governor’s commitment to rescind the license plate mandate is a good sign, but we need to keep up the pressure to make sure the promise is kept. The next step is to bring legislation forward to amend the state budget and remove the provision,” said Assemblyman Lopez, who hosted a series of rallies against the DMV fee increases throughout our region along with county clerks, tax advocacy groups and concerned residents.
The first set of DMV fee hikes went into effect in September and included fee increases on driver licenses. Assemblyman Lopez, who is a former county clerk, also has contacted the Governor and legislative leaders about rescinding the entire plan. He stated, “I know first-hand the effect these unnecessary increases will have on motorists and on our economy. It has been my belief, and many of those I represent share this belief, that these DMV hikes are symbolic of the irrational thinking in Albany that endlessly increasing fees and taxes will solve all our problems. Taxpayers have had enough, and now they’re fighting back.”
Schoharie County Clerk Indy Jaycox stated, “I want to reiterate the hardships that everyone is having now. Fees already were increased in September and to propose another increase in April would have just created another hardship. People are being laid off; it’s a difficult time to hit people with this right now. It sounds like the Governor is listening to us and at least he is trying to find other ways to hold this off.”
Columbia County Clerk Holly Tanner said, “I was pleased to represent my constituents who spoke loud and clear that this was an unnecessary tax. The response to my petition was overwhelming and I was proud to join with my county clerk colleagues to deliver the petitions, with over 100,000 signatures statewide. The focus here is to not look for ways to increase fees but to cut costs.”
Greene County Clerk Mike Flynn stated, “As the official on the front line interacting with the citizens of Greene County, I have seen first-hand how the economic downturn of a lifetime affects my constituents in Greene County. I must report that the license plate re-issuance slated for 2010 will create a severely negative impact on the vast majority of the people in Greene County. My constituents, in many cases, cannot afford the 25 percent increase in all DMV fees instituted on September 1, 2009; to unnecessarily issue new plates in this economic environment should not take place. This is not a fee that is avoidable in an area that has virtually no public transportation. It is unnecessary, not business friendly, a waste of resources and a regressive fee. My constituents are asking the Governor and Legislature to reconsider this effort.”
Delaware County Clerk Sharon O’Dell said, “I am pleased that this appears to not be going through because people in Delaware County cannot afford this right now. With the economy the way it is, and people losing their jobs, we already are seeing some people handing in their plates and we are concerned that, if this goes through, even more people will be driving illegally. It wouldn’t be so bad if we had not just gotten another 25 percent increase on September 1 as well.”
Otsego County Clerk Kathy Sinnott Gardner stated, “This program is not one that upstate New York residents can afford. I cannot support a program that’s sole propose is to take more money from the pockets of my constituents. New Yorkers have spoken, ‘Governor, no new plates.’”
Assemblyman Lopez added, “While all of us are eager to do away with the mandatory license plate replacements, we can’t stop there. We have a collective responsibility to keep the heat on Albany to alleviate the burden from taxpayers. Filling in the budget deficit is not enough; state leaders must stop the excessive spending and make tough choices to prevent these situations from happening again in the future. My proposals to consolidate state agencies, share services, and reduce other state expenditures would close the hole in this year’s budget and help steer our state toward sustainability.”