NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Enough is enough.
Outraged drivers and furious lawmakers have mounted a consumer revolt to stop Gov. Andrew Cuomo from forcing millions of New Yorkers to buy new license plates whether the need them or not.
As CBS2’s Marcia Kramer found out, some are calling it an unacceptable cash grab.
The saying, “a fish stinks from the head” took on new meaning Tuesday as Cuomo caught a fish and and found himself under assault from all corners for announcing a plan to force drivers to buy new license plates.
“It’s outrageous. This is the nickel and diming that chases people our of our state and it’s just unacceptable,” said state Sen. David Carlucci, D-Rockland County.
“It’s a cash grab. It’s just another open insult to the taxpayers of New York,” added Sen. John Flanagan, R-Long Island. “For what? Why are we doing this?”
The lawmakers say the governor’s plan stinks from the head, the tail, any which way you filet it, and it must be stopped.
At issue? Cuomo’s decision to issue new plates and force drivers to get them whether they want to or not.
On April 1, 3 million drivers with plates that are 10 years or older will automatically get new plates when they renew their registration. A $25 replacement fee will be added to the registration fee, $20 more if you want the same plates. Eventually, the state’s 11.2 million cars will have to get new tags.
Under fire, Cuomo claimed the plates are necessary because of cashless tolling and congestion pricing.
“We need a plate that works with that technology,” the governor said. “It is designing a plate that the EZPass can actually read.”
Cuomo aides say the EZPass readers work best when the plate has dark letters on a light background, which is why they’re asking drivers to vote on one of five proposed designs.
The irony is that the first set of plates to be replaced are the ones with blue letters on a white background, tags that readers should have no problem with.
New Yorkers are not happy.
“I don’t like it, no. We pay enough here in the city, between tolls, between the trains, congestion pricing,” said Ida Demetriou of Astoria, Queens. “It’s crazy. It’s just too much.”
“I think it’s BS. Why should we have to pay more? We pay more than anybody at it is now. It’s ridiculous,” added Eddie Hart of Woodside, Queens.
“It’s just another way to get money from us,” another person said.
“Not happy at all. I’m going to keep my old plates,” another said.
“I think we pay enough for registrations and license plates,” another said.
Carlucci said he intends to mount a campaign to try and stop the program. Flanagan said he is on board with that, too. But as for the driver who wants to keep his or her old plates, that could be a problem.