New York Motorists To Pay More Fees

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With New York State facing a record shortfall, Governor David Patterson will turn to New York motorists to help balance its budget.  New Yorkers already pay some of the highest and most varied DMV fees in the country.  Yet the Governor Patterson’s proposed tax plan includes all types of fee increases.

The sweeping nature of the increases illustrates how heavily the politicians rely on DMV as a taxing authority (regardless of whether they call their charges fees, surcharges or anything else).  The days when DMV charges were commensurate with the cost of the service actually provided are long over.  Further, with “surcharge” amounts for traffic tickets often exceeding the fine itself, it is clear that politics has taken over the financial aspects of DMV.

Below are the recommended increases:

  • Twenty five percent increase in all driver license fees (and photo fee document)
  • Twenty five percent increase on most vehicle registration fees
  • License plate fees raised by up to $25 (effective April 1, 2010)
  • License suspension termination fee to rise from $25 to 50 for non-alcohol related suspensions and from $100 to $200 for alcohol-related offenses
  • License reinstatement fee to be raised from $50 to $100
  • Scofflaw termination fee to be raised from $35 to $70
  • Elimination of the $100 cap of traffic ticket surcharge for multiple tickets allowing the $60 surcharge to be imposed on each moving violation conviction issued the same date and time.
  • Creation of a $1 charge to driving schools for each pre-licensing classroom certificate
  • Increase mandatory minimum civil penalty fines for repair shops, inspections stations, and dealers and transporters to $350 (first offense), $500 (second offense) and $1,000 (third offense)

The fee increases for license suspensions, civil penalties, the MV-278 certificate, and removal of the surchage cap would be effective 90 days after passage of the budget.  All other fee increases would be effective August 1, 2009.

It seems the only thing not increasing are the salaries of DMV employees.  The Governor has recommended that the 3% salary increase of all state employees, effective April 2009, be eliminated and that a 5-day pay deferral be implemented.

Of course, the foregoing are just recommendations which must be approved by the Legislature.  It wouldn’t surprise me if any of the above increases is actually larger once the politicians finalize the budget.

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