Next year, some New Yorkers will have to switch out their license plates for a new one, and not everyone is happy about it.
New Yorkers can pick their next license plate, but how many want to pay $25 to get a new one? For drivers with the blue and white plates, there won't be much of a choice next year.
It's the third design for motorists in the last 10 years. Governor Andrew Cuomo says the new plates are needed for cashless tolling.
"Nobody wants to pay any money for anything. I don't want to buy new plates, either," Cuomo said. "It's 10 years. You need a plate that works with E-Z Pass."
But state lawmakers like Democratic Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara aren't happy.
"It seems like the state keeps coming up with reasons to issue new plates and sending more of our hard-earned money to the state," said Santabarbara (D - Amsterdam).
Republican Senator Jim Tedisco scoffed at the competition being run by the Department of Motor Vehicles to pick the next plate design.
"If this was a competition, and they got to pick their own license plate, it would be a picture of a taxpayer and a New York state bureaucrat reaching into its pocket to get its wallet," said Tedisco, who later tweeted an image of just that.
“While I do not have an issue with updating the design of New York’s license plates, and certainly understand the need to replace the plates that are peeling and ensure they are readable for both law enforcement and automated tollbooths, taxpayers should not have to foot the bill for the inferior product that was produced,” wrote Tedisco in a letter to Cuomo released Tuesday afternoon.
Tedisco, a Republican who represents the Capital Region, said the state should put the company behind the peeling and crumbling license plates on the hook for funding the replacements.
“If these costs must be recouped, the DMV should go after the manufacturer that issued these faulty plates to the state,” he wrote. “Given the already high cost taxpayers must pay to drive and register a car in New York an additional $45 is too high a burden for taxpayers.”
Nine years ago, then-Governor David Paterson backed off from a proposal to require every driver purchase new license plates after an outcry. The new plan could generate an estimated $75 million for the state. Rensselaer County Clerk Frank Merola says it's a lot for driver's to take on: It costs $20 to keep a current plate number, $164 to register a car.
"For them, it seems like a small fee, $25, but for an individual registering a car, it's on top of, on top of," Merola said.
Outside the Rensselaer County DMV on Tuesday, drivers were not pleased with the idea of parting with their current plates, and $25.
"I prefer to keep the one I have because it is white, but I voted for number five," said Debbie Stewart of Latham.
"I wouldn't pay $25 for a new license plate. You pay enough already to DMV, and I'm not going to pay to change every single license plate," said Stacey Zimmie of Brunswick.
The new plates will be available in April.