New York State Holds License Plate Fundraiser

As part of an attempt to make up a budget shortfall, New York State is holding a huge fundraiser. No, not a bake sale: starting in April 2010, the state is forcing all car and tractor-trailer owners in the state to buy new license plates when they renew their registrations. And not just any license plates. Ugly license plates.

Drivers will need to pay $25 for their new plates, and an additional $20 if they want to keep their current plate numbers. Since everyone has an extra $25 lying around these days.

The new plates, featuring a bold new gold hue and a highly reflective surface, will make the roads safer and “reflect New York’s force and its resilience,” according to the state’s commissioner of motor vehicles.

They will also generate $260 million in revenue and create more than 100 jobs – at the maximum security prison where inmates make the plates for up to 42 cents an hour.

Yes, I own a car in New York and just had new plates issued last year.

In Need of Cash, State Requiring Drivers to Buy New $25 Plates [NY Times] (Thanks, Crystal!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. supercereal says:

    Yeah, didn’t NY mandate that everyone change their plates over to the current style just a few short years ago?

  2. Radi0logy says:

    Yet more proof that the government has too much power.

  3. Benny Gesserit says:

    But the NY Times said “The new $25 license plate fee, which will be phased in as drivers begin renewing their two-year vehicle registrations in April, is up from $5.50 in 2001, the last time the state went through a full plate replacement program. Other states, like California, have never charged a fee for mandatory plates.”

    Doesn’t that mean you won’t have to get them until the current plates expire?

    Regardless, the colours are shall we say less than pleasing to the eye.

  4. ColoradoShark says:

    Wow. That is obnoxious. Wouldn’t it be refreshing if they were honest and just upped the license fee by $25 rather than adding the BS “reflect New York’s force and its resilience” statement? That would raise more money and be somewhat less annoying since you don’t need to break out a screwdriver to replace the plates.

    • nybiker says:

      @ColoradoShark: Wait a minute. You want honesty from a New York State (or City, for that matter) politician? Very funny. Your theory sounds good. Probably not going to happen though.

    • Aesteval says:

      @ColoradoShark: I think they’ve already increased the actual license fees starting this past (current) fall. If nothing else, I’m pretty sure MTA regions are seeing increases in some fees to help fund the MTA as well.

      • wjamny says:

        @Aesteval: You’re right. I just got my registration renewal which included a $60 “Use Fee” of which $50 is for the MTA surcharge. I think my head exploded when I got this – I drive to work and pay large gas taxes yet I’m subsidizing someone’s train ride because they didn’t want to raise rates or find a way to lower expenses. Now I’m mandated to get new plates. All these politicians need to go because all they know how to do is raise taxes and fee, and enrich themselves.

    • Agent19488 says:

      @ColoradoShark: At least everyone in many states have the same damn design. How many different Colorado plates can you spot on our roadways in the average day?

  5. whitneyvegan says:

    Maybe it’s an effort to cut down New York’s obesity percentage. Dump your car and walk, fatty.

    • TopcatF14B says:

      @whitneyvegan: Why is there always some douche bag who has to hate on fat people…

    • blandname says:

      @whitneyvegan:Did you possibly consider the effect that this will have on the working poor, the elderly on fixed incomes, the disabled people on fixed incomes, or the effect it will have on skinny people, who through injury, disease or some other misfortune can’t walk very well, and can’t afford to take taxis everywhere? Or the people in rural New York where public transportation is unavailable? Because we know the automobile was invented by Jabba the Hutt for the sole purpose of transporting “fatties” so they don’t have to walk and, god forbid, lose weight, right, amirite? Because we know they must like being fat, otherwise they would all be skinny and perfect like you. Because we all know obesity is the result of laziness and sloth, and never brought on by illness, poor genetics, or injury. You seem to like judging people by size, do you judge people by race too?

  6. NotYou007 says:

    I have seen much uglier plates than those but does NY not have specialty plates? In Maine you can get pink plates to support the fight against breast cancer which is a good cause but I think those plates are just as ugly as those above for the article.

    A pink plate only works on a pink car. Any other color the plates stand out like a sore thumb.

  7. schiff says:

    This is extortion plain and simple. I have no idea how I can fight this as a NY resident but the more NY flexes its muscles the closer I get to moving out of NY.

    • Cant_stop_the_rock says:


      If this is extortion then all taxes are extortion.

      I’m blown away by how worked up people get over $25.

    • Rachacha says:

      @schiff: NYS DMV provides the following explanation for why they are pushing for replacement. As a long time former NYS resident, I can say that this explanation makes sense. I left when the Liberty plates were still being used, and they were looking pretty shabby. In Maryland, our plates lose their reflectiveness after 2-3 years. Combine that with the fact that NYS does not place registration stickers on the plates, it becomes difficult for police officers to ensure regustration is current unless he is stopping you for some other reason.

      “Periodic re-issuance of vehicle plates is important for overall highway safety, law enforcement and the general integrity of the vehicle registration system. The visibility of reflective vehicle plates decreases with time. The legibility and reflectivity of the current Empire plates, introduced in 2001, was only guaranteed for a maximum of five years. The current plates will have been in use for 10 or 11 years when they are replaced by the new Empire Gold plates. Vehicle plate re-issuance also helps to ensure compliance with motor vehicle registration and insurance requirements.”

  8. TouchMyMonkey says:

    They should have gone back to the Statue of Liberty plates they had in the 80s. Those were nice.

    • redstapler says:

      @HurtsSoGood: I loved those plates and have secretly resented the upstaters who threw a fit because the ‘City” isn’t the State. Do upstaters not enjoy liberty too?

    • GirlCat says:

      @HurtsSoGood: Those were bland. All of the designs post Orange-and-Blue were bland. This is a step in the right direction. I remember my disappointment when they first changed to red, white and blue plates: It was like I’d suddenly moved to North Carolina. Bland, boring, blah. Bring back the state colors, they have personality.

  9. GitEmSteveDave_HurtHisKnee says:

    Well, it’s easy to understand why the plates are so ugly. Patterson has something against the non-cane swingers, which explains his increases on taxes for artwork and books, yet tax breaks on sunglasses and books on tape.

  10. rpm773 says:

    Bullshit PR statement and $25 fee notwithstanding, I’m going to sheepishly admit that I think I like the look of them – at least in the picture.

    Of course, I can’t be sure until I see how good it looks on a coffee-colored Buick.

    • Optimistic Prime says:

      @rpm773: We seem to be the minority. I like them as well, it’s a classic look. Forcing everyone to get them this year is BS, but they’re nice.

      I’m not from NY, but don’t they have the special plates every other state has? I can choose from like 20 designs in Ohio.

  11. coren says:

    …how does a new license plate make the roads safer?

    • Radi0logy says:

      @coren: because now all the “undesirables” that can’t afford new plates will be forced to walk, thereby allowing the rich white folk to drive on the roads in peace.

  12. MsCongeniality says:

    “Bold new gold hue?” Sorry, but those look remarkably like the orange and blue plates we had on our car thirty years ago. Except, you know, with a little silhouette of the state in the middle and a banner across the top.

    • Laura Northrup says:

      @MsCongeniality: If they’re going to go retro, bring back the Liberty plates. I loved those.

    • lockdog says:

      @MsCongeniality: When I first saw the photo I actually thought it was one of the old gold and blue plates I remember as a kid (early 80s). Bringing back plain old easy to read plates without all of the special designs and causes wouldn’t bother me at all, but that arched banner across the top is awful.

  13. xl22k says:

    Gov. Patterson says this is a great idea… isn’t he blind??

  14. bkdlays says:

    Perhaps put a link that you can access without registering?

  15. metsarethe... says:

    I thik Patterson has started to back away from this shakedown

  16. morganlh85 says:

    Wow…those are hideous. Did they consult a designer when choosing those fugly colors? I thought the current NY plates were rather nice looking!

  17. 1964F100 says:

    The plain, boring, generic California license plates don’t look so bad now, compared to the new NY design. Ewww…

  18. madanthony says:

    Gee, I never thought I’d admire my former homeslice of NJ, but when they change plate designs, they aren’t mandatory.

    You still see cars occasionally with the ’70’s beige and black plates or the 80’s light blue and tan ones. And I drove around for years with the short-lived 7-digit plates, that they dropped because evidently cops couldn’t remember 7 digits when calling in a plate.

  19. Danj3ris says:

    They remind me of Pennsylvania’s blue and yellow plates. But only a little bit.

  20. Tim says:

    Recall that driving, car ownership and related actions are all privileges, not rights.

    The state has no obligation to make it easy for you to drive.

    • morlo says:

      @TCama: Freedom of movement is a basic human right. The state can amuse itself with as many regulations as it can think of, but eventually people will just drive without licenses and steal/make plates. Cops can pull them over at their own risk.

      • Tim says:

        @morlo: Freedom of movement is a basic human right.

        Sure, I can agree with that. But there are infinitely more ways to move than driving. Walking, taking a bus, taking a subway, taking a train, riding in a car someone else is driving, riding a bike, riding a Segway, flying in an airplane … I could go on.

        Movement may be a right, but driving is far from the only way to move.

        • azntg says:

          @TCama: Now that’s a typical city mentality when I see one.

          Listen, I’m a lifelong New York City resident. But the fact of the matter is:

          1) New York State has its fair share of suburban and rural areas.

          2) Everybody doesn’t live in a location with well developed and maintained roads with a sidewalk (or at least a wide shoulder good for safe walking), reliable public transportation (if at all) and essential locations within close distances.

          3) Not everybody is healthy, but everybody does have a mind of their own.

          Your “infinitely more ways to move than driving” is more wishful thinking than anything else. (More of the same line that the government seems to think moreso lately than ever before.)

  21. suburbancowboy says:

    They look much like the old license plates, before NY switched to blue and white with a red statue of liberty, and then to Blue and White. I like them, because they remind me of when I was a kid. Most antique cars in NY still have the blue and gold. (Before the 70’s they were blue with gold lettering, and then they reversed it). However, I don’t like the fact that they are forcing everyone to get them.

  22. hagirl says:

    I live in Virginia, the state with the most plate variety (more than 200!), and to my knowledge we never have to get new plates unless the old plate is so beat up you can no longer read it. If you get a new car you can just transfer the old plates over to it. This sounds like a ridiculous waste to me…

    • madanthony says:


      I was in Indiana last year for work and it seemed like everyone had a different plate, but it looks like they have “only” 75.

      Maryland, on the other hand, has 3 (plain white, save the bay, and agriculture), not counting affiliate/org plates, which are just the plain white plate with different letters and maybe a logo.

  23. hkellogg says:

    I thought Nj had the worst DMV but obviously NY state does, my plates never expire in nj and I still have the old blue and white ones on one of my vehicles they didn’t force the hand to give up your old plates, also I don’t have to pay for my plates they never expire you get them when you register the car the first time in nj and thats it although we do pay a yearly registration fee..

  24. smrtypants44 says:

    This ye ar in Oklahoma they mandated getting new plates but the only fee for them was to keep your current plate number.

  25. SgtMajorFragg says:

    Once upon a time Florida had these beautiful plates – white with orange numbers. Some knucklehead decided to change them to an off-green color. Epic fail as far as Florida voters were concerned. Now Florida has over 100 types of plates.

  26. ohiomensch says:

    They kind of look like the plates ohio issues to DUI offenders.

  27. katstermonster says:

    @Trai_Dep: LOL.

    @Method of Steepest Descent: I assure you, SteveDave is not “making this stuff up.” And if you didn’t recognize his first comment as blatant sarcasm and satire, your sense of humor needs a solid reboot.

  28. AngryK9 says:

    Well, the taxpayers have to subsidize those lavish vacations and extravagant homes for the state’s political figures somehow.

  29. Cameraman says:

    Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.

    In a free society, the State does not grant privileges. In a free society, the State has certain, limited, powers, and everything else is permitted. You’re confusing a free society with a an oligarchy. Don’t feel bad, most of our current politicians make the same mistake.

  30. flugennock says:

    D’ahh, c’mon. What’s wrong with that plate? It kind of reminds me of what license plates were when I was a kid, back in the ’60s — plain, legible, simple, efficient, not like the plates these days, which attempt to be masterpieces of great art, or something, and let everybody scream out their favorite officially-approved cause, or some shit.

    I like that plate, because it’s a plain, legible, simple, efficient, back-to-basics plate that isn’t some modern, trendy, overdesigned, multi-colored, eyeball-jangling plate.

  31. JonBoy470 says:

    I remember Massachusetts doesn’t make you get new plates either. Massachusetts started issuing front and rear plates with a new design in the late 80’s, but you still see people driving around with the old (and by now very weathered) single green plates. They’re actually quite coveted these days because with the old plate, no front plate is legally required.

  32. GitEmSteveDave_HurtHisKnee says:

    @Method of Steepest Descent: Well, I introduce you to Walden.

    Last I heard, he was helping someone make their life easier in PA.
    And in case you think that is me with some random puppy, here is a “thank you” gift from the Seeing Eye, which my cat decided to appropriate:

    AND, to top it all off, here is my Ex and the blind guy she dumped me for, and HIS Seeing Eye Dog:

  33. MostlyHarmless says:

    @katstermonster: Except for his GF, who apparently could bash him up good…

  34. montusama says:

    Just have to love the NYSDOT. They really must love the Buffalo Sabres.

    p.s. my hometown team

  35. That's Consumer007 to you says:

    I know this will sound insensitive to some, but in a tough economy where there are literally honest hardworking people on the streets, I think they should get the hundred jobs, even if at the same rate, rather than inmates. If it helps them eat and survive, frankly, that is better, the inmates should be made to do work for nothing, and the work they do should not take away jobs from people who need to pay the bills just because some bureaucrat wants to “cheat” and get something for nothing.

  36. vorpal_hamster says:

    I thought Oregon had a lot of plate designs to choose from…You still see the occasional “Pacific Wonderland” plate from waaaay back because we don’t have to unilaterally replace ours when a new design comes out.

    However, the dingbat in the head office had a GRRRRR-eat!!!!! idea of how to raise more money off license plates…first, double the fee; second, halve the renewal period; three, require the same license plates for bicycles. Now, many people were upset about the idea of paying $120 every year to license a car, but the idea of paying that for a bicycle? Insanity.

  37. squishyalt says:

    There’s a reason for this horrific “bold new gold hue and a highly reflective surface” and it too involves the generation of income for the state.

    It’s so the cops can see that your vehicle does not have one from very far away and fine you appropriately – making even more money for big brother.

    Ingenious, don’t you think?

  38. bananaballs says:

    Well, clearly Paterson is an Orangemen fan.

  39. GitEmSteveDave_HurtHisKnee says:

    @Trai_Dep: We don’t “train” them for the actual guiding. We keep them for ~18 months and get them used to being out in the world and around people, etc… We also re-inforce the base commands and note any behaviors which may wash them out. They then go back to The Seeing Eye, are tested medically, and only after they pass all that do they get their real training, which culminates in a “Town Walk”.

  40. Jrsy Devil's Advocate® says:

    @The Black Bird: So he’s a bigot for using the term ‘cane-swinger’ but it’s ok for Trai-Dep to post Helen Keller joke or joke about teaching bad commands to a seeing eye dog? You didn’t say anything to him. And your argument about comparing what he said to the ‘N’ word. What planet are you even on? There is no way ‘cane-swinger’ has anywhere near the racist negativity associated with it that the ‘N’ word does. No one is getting beat-up or shot over ‘cane-swinger’. You’re an idiot. The man is entitled to his own opinion, whether you agree with it or not.

    • Trai_Dep says:

      @Jrsy Devil’s Advocate®: For the record, I have a number of differently-abled friends and their humor is even more sardonic and black than my own. From them, I learned that handling these issues in a condescending fashion – the Precious Snowflake approach – really grates their goat. :)

      • Jrsy Devil's Advocate® says:

        @Trai_Dep: I don’t have any problems with your sense of humor or comments. I was merely pointing out that your multiple comments got a pass with The Black Bird but SteveDave’s one comment got him/her all rilled up.

    • The Black Bird says:

      @Jrsy Devil’s Advocate®: I wasn’t comparing “cane-swinger” with the “N” word. I was questioning him about it.

      Are you saying he is entitled to his opinion but I’m not? As far as your idiot comment I’ll consider the source who said it.

  41. Cactus_Wren says:

    Man, not only is that so ugly it’s art, but it defies the rule of tincture. Blue on tenne is color on color, not color on metal.

  42. nerble says:

    It’s so weird that people are fleeing New York like rats from a sinking ship. I’m sure this will stop the tide of people leaving the state because of ridiculous financial rape from the government. Wait…

  43. RandomHookup says:

    Be careful with car tag issues, politicians. The last election Bill Clinton lost was because his opponent pushed two sensitive issues: Car Tags and Cubans.

    The Cubans issue had to do with the Cuban Boatlift refugees coming to Ft. Chaffee. Clinton had also raised the license fee to fund highway construction.

  44. GitEmSteveDave_HurtHisKnee says:

    @The Black Bird: So my taking in and helping to train a service animal, with no compensation other than vet bills, and at the cost of a chewed up bedroom set, is me treating them with hatred and intolerant? OK.

    As for your N-word comment, no, I did not address it because it had no bearing on my statement. If you note, I never made a remark about blind people. I merely said that Gov. Paterson had something against NON-cane swingers. I never said he was one. It’s as if I said he has something against Non-Mint Julep drinkers. Does that mean he drinks Mint Juleps? No.

    @Trai_Dep: Shhhhh. Stop picking on someone trying to defend me! I need all the help I can get! ;)

  45. msquier says:

    Alabama is doing this too except they are GIVING you the new tag when you renew. You don’t even have to turn in the old tag!

  46. The Black Bird says:

    @GitEmSteveDave_HurtHisKnee: I’ll address your comment but first let me say this;

    First, while I believe your comment is bigoted that doesn’t make me think you are a bigoted person. Many of us, at one time or another, have said things which we wish we hadn’t said because of various reasons.

    Next, if you are really involved with training dogs for the blind, (I don’t have any reason not to believe you), I applaud what you are doing.

    While I have done things over the years to help people less fortunate, I have never done what you are doing. In fact I would have a problem in “letting go” of the dog because of how attached I would get to it. I had that very problem with a stray I took in last winter. I knew I couldn’t keep him indefinitely when I found him but I couldn’t let him freeze or starve to death and I wasn’t going to take him to the pound and have him put down.

    I took him to the vet and made sure he was ok. I was able to find a good home for him about a month later and it was difficult to give him up.

    Finally, I am truly sorry about you losing your Ex. I would imagine it had (has) to hurt like hell. If you haven’t yet done so, I hope you get over it soon.

    Now back to “the comment”.

    You said;

    “It’s as if I said he has something against Non-Mint Julep drinkers. Does that mean he drinks Mint Juleps?”

    The difference is that you know he is blind. If he weren’t, I doubt you would have made your comment. I just don’t think it’s right to make light of an individuals disability.

    As far as I’m concerned it’s behind us. If you want to comment I’ll be happy to read it.

  47. subtlefrog says:

    @katstermonster: You’re welcome to take Daisydog for random visits – just keep her away from anything grain-based.

  48. Joedel263 says:

    Move to Connecticut, they offer a “Preserve the Sound” plate with a pretty lighthouse on it representing Long Island Sound. Up until last year the extra $40 you paid for one of these was donated to preserve the Sound. This year, the plates are still $40 more and they keep it..

  49. katstermonster says:

    @The Black Bird: I know for sure it was a joke, and I also know that while SteveDave enjoys messing with your ignorant little head (and oh god, it’s funny for the rest of us), I’m sure he’d rather not have to educate you at all. I feel comfortable saying all of this because I watch SteveDave in his home while he sleeps. (Take that home and chew on it.) I know his personality well enough to say that yes, his first comment was fully a joke, designed to catch suckers like you. I’m sure you’ve realized this by now, so let’s just all have a good laugh about it and move on, shall we?

    @RedwoodFlyer: I don’t even care what this says about me, but I laughed about your comment to the point of tears. Bonus points for the use of the word “fellate.”

    @subtlefrog: I read this again, got it, and laughed even more. Oh god. Nice one.

  50. humphrmi says:

    Wow, I feel much better about Illinois. They’ve replaced our license plates a few times, at least we don’t have to pay for new plates.

  51. subtlefrog says:

    @RedwoodFlyer: I concur with the others. You have been hearted by the lot of us.

  52. Dukebruno says:

    This is New York State looking for a new source of revenue, plain and simple. Our company collects New York State Sales Tax. We’ve been registered with NYS for 10+ years. Recently I received a notice that we must re-register to “update the database” and get a new certificate. Easy enough except 1) There is a mandatory $ 50 fee to re-register and 2) There is no indication of any expiration date on the certificate. So, theoretically, 6 months from now NYS could repeat the process again. Re-register, pay $ 50. See you in 6 months for a cleaning.

  53. Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

    @GitEmSteveDave_HurtHisKnee: Dang.. I miss all the fun because I was out today.. Bah. You handled it well anyway.

  54. GitEmSteveDave_HurtHisKnee says:

    @subtlefrog: Ditto. Hearted RedwoodFlyer myself.

  55. quail says:

    I just got plates a year ago after moving to NY. Are you guys serious? People never had to change their plates before this? Just about every state that I know of requires plates to be changed out every ‘x’ number of years, usually 7. In TX it was just part of the deal with registration. If you owned the car for 7 years, when you went to register they just handed over new plates to you.

    Agree the color is horrendous. Probably an attempt to up the vanity plate sales.

    And I agree too that there’s hordes of other ridiculous things to be more upset about with the state of NY. Did you know a liquor store, the only place to buy wine up here, can’t sell you a wine bag to make it a gift? A bunch of liquor stores got fined heavily at the beginning of the year because(gasp!)the sold wine gift bags.

    • humphrmi says:


      If you owned the car for 7 years, when you went to register they just handed over new plates to you.

      Read the article. They’re not just “handing over new plates”, they’re charging everyone (including you) $25 for the new plates.

  56. Smorgasbord says:

    If they are going to create 100 new jobs in the prison, does this mean they will need 100 more prisoners to keep up with demand. I guess this can’t be called FREE enterprise, since the prisoners aren’t free.

    If the governor is “creating” jobs, maybe he will qualify for more stimulus money.

  57. katstermonster says:

    @pecan 3.14159265: Also, some of us had reason to be very sure he was joking. Just sayin’. :) I’d call him on his jokes if I thought it truly crossed a line, as would many of us.

  58. JomTones says:

    Heh. Just wait until the gov’t charges a “fee” to print and mail your health insurance card. Heck, where I live they already charge a $5 “fee” for the sticker to show you paid your annual car tax. Yes, you pay your taxes and then you have to buy a $5 sticker to prove you paid your taxes. $5! I don’t even think stickers cost that much at Disney World.

  59. LeChiffre says:

    I like the looks of this new plate. Looks retro,,,1930s.

  60. nuch says:

    I like them… they’re Sabres colors! Let’s go Buff-a-lo! Wooo.

  61. bumpducks says:

    yet another reason to move out of NY.

  62. Lucky225 says:

    show me the law I say, if the code hasn’t been amended and this is some scheme by the DMV, tell them to piss off on principal.

  63. Pandrogas says:

    These new plates look remarkably similar to some older plates I saw in my grandparents garage… From like 30-40 years ago.

    Also, policies like this are a big reason I left NY. Too many taxes and a government that can’t manage it’s budget for crap.

  64. xskeptictankx says:

    Didn’t Michigan just do this? I really dislike the new plates, although I’m not sure they made us pay extra…