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Halls Of Albany Don’t Like Echoes Of Opposition

New Yorkers will not be forced to replace their license plates once the plates are at least 10 years old, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office.

Cuomo’s plan would have began in the spring. In addition to a $25 replacement fee, drivers who wanted to keep their old license plate numbers would have had to pay an additional $20. A Siena College poll released early Tuesday showed New Yorkers were overwhelmingly against the forced license plate replacement, and later in the day Rich Azzopardi, an adviser to Cuomo, said officials reversed their policy weeks ago.

While it is true that some in the Cuomo administration had said the administration was working on new plans or were open to working with state legislators, nothing had leaked out that the plate replacement plan was dead. In fact, the governor had thrown the controversy back to the state Legislature several times, saying the $25 fee was due to a state law and saying the legislature could always change the law if it felt strongly enough about the issue. We have a feeling the formal announcement that a new plan was needed came when 60 percent of respondents to the Siena College poll were against requiring drivers to replace their license plates while 75 percent said the $25 fee was unfair. The Siena poll only reinforced what many state legislators had already heard — the public feels it pays more than enough for the privilege of driving a vehicle in New York state.

To be honest, we have a feeling the taxpaying public feels that way about a lot of things, but the license plate fee hike was handled publicly enough that the public could voice its opposition. The public’s reaction to the state’s latest proposed fee increase is one reason New York’s government likes to push through these sorts of bills during a 72-hour rush to end a legislative session or create special commissions that issue recommendations during the holidays when people aren’t paying attention.

Too often, when the public has a chance to voice its opinion, the halls of Albany don’t like what the public has to say.

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