ALBANY, N.Y. - ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The New York state Department of Motor Vehicles calls it "Empire Gold," but many drivers lining up to buy new license plates next year may be reminded of the old yellow ones they had on their cars between 1973 and 1986.
These plates — unveiled Tuesday by the DMV — won't share the price of the older ones as the change is designed to raise $129 million in general fund revenue over two years.
Beginning April 1, the state will require new license plates for every one of the estimated 10 million cars, trucks, trailers and ATVs registered in the state at a cost of $25 — a $10 increase over the current cost. If you want to keep your same license plate number, it will cost another $20.
In September, the state increased driver's license and registration fees 25 percent.
The governor's office has said the new licenses could make $129 million for the cash-starved state, which has a projected budget deficit next year nearing $5 billion. The legislature last spring approved a measure authorizing the license plate plan.
St. Lawrence County Clerk Patricia Ritchie says it's an outrage to ask families and businesses to pay more for new license plates they don't need.
"I have a car, my husband does, my children do, so it's a big added expense even for our household," Ritchie said. "But where you really see the difference is the local business owner, who has 300 cars and has to pay the extra $25 on each vehicle."
Nearly 57,000 people have signed an online petition at http://www.nonewplates.com/ that Ritchie put up to protest the new license plan.
"The county clerk has failed to provide any solution to the state's budget crisis and the revenue that this program would bring in," said Morgan Hook, a spokesman for Gov. David Paterson.
The DMV and the governor's office says reissuing plates is important for overall safety and law enforcement because plate visibility tends to decrease over time.
The new plate is dark yellow with blue letters and numbers in the central part of the plate. There is a dark blue banner across the length of the top of the plate, with "New York" printed in gold in the center. "Empire State" is in dark blue letters across the bottom.
On the Net: www.nysdmv.com.