Even though a just released poll says New Yorkers oppose the state’s plan for new license plates and their $25 fee, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Tuesday rejected as "cheap politics" any notion of a “cash grab” behind the effort.
Instead, he continues to maintain new plates are needed because so many are worn out and unreadable by new electronic toll systems on the Thruway and several toll bridges. And he says opponents are exploiting a genuine need for political purposes, especially since legislation has enabled a $25 fee since 2009.
“Where have you been for the past 10 years?” he asked during a meeting with The Buffalo News editorial board. “If you’re a Republican, you were in the Senate majority. Why have you not lowered it?
“Now all of a sudden you’re outraged,” he added. “How phony.”
A new Siena College poll of 798 registered voters found that by 60% to 31%, New Yorkers oppose the recently announced requirement. An even larger majority, 75% to 23%, think the $25 replacement fee is unfair.
But Cuomo made his point by displaying several battered license plates to demonstrate that for many motorists the time for new plates has arrived, and that toll cameras need to read the reflective paint that may now be peeling away.
“Their useful life is 10 years,” he said.
Some Republicans like state Chairman Nicholas A. Langworthy have lambasted the plan as unnecessary and a “stealth tax.”
"It shouldn’t take a poll to tell the governor what is blatantly apparent: New Yorkers are fed up with Albany Democrats incessantly hitting them with new taxes and fees to support their insatiable appetite for spending," Langworthy said late Tuesday.
But the governor on Tuesday labeled the GOP opposition as a “cheap political shot.”