2009-11-20 / Editorial/Opinion

License Plate Fiasco Tip Of Iceberg

Every motorist in New York State will have to shell out his or her hard-earned money for new license plates next year not because there is anything wrong with the old ones, but because Governor David Paterson and the State Legislature need to plug a budget gap. Or, perhaps not. The on-again, off-again saga of the blue and gold retro license plates has once again made our State Legislature the laughing stock of the electorate. It is not, however, a laughing matter. The plan is to charge drivers $25 for the new license plates. Those who want to keep their present plate number will have to shell out an additional $20, all of it on top of the normal registration fees. The new fees are due to begin on April 1 and will come due as registrations expire over the next two years. Paterson says that the plan will raise $130 million in muchneeded revenue. This is just the latest in a long line of using fees and summonses as a hidden tax on the middle class. As we write this, tow-trucks from a Jamaica company run Rockaway streets, towing those who have not paid their city parking tickets, tickets that have blitzed middle-class drivers all over the city. Politicians do not want to raise taxes, but they need more money. The answer: higher fines, new restrictions and added fees for city and state services. The Legislature and Paterson are working to repeal the new license fees before they begin in April. They say they are looking for a new revenue stream that will replace the $130 million. Better watch out. Next, they will tax each garbage can you put out on the street for collection day. Don't laugh - it's probably under discussion somewhere at City Hall or in Albany right now.

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