Cuomo Administration rejects Sen. Tedisco’s FOIL request seeking a “breakdown of monetary costs associated with manufacturing” of new license plates that will cost millions of motorists up to $45 per plate

Senator Jim Tedisco (R,C,I,REF-Glenville) today announced that the Cuomo Administration and the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is refusing to provide his office with the official numbers on the costs related to producing the new license plates, which will cost millions of motorists $25 per plate and an additional $20 if you want to keep your plate number.

Tedisco’s Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request was completed by his Policy Director, Jonathan Pirro, and asked for the DMV to provide the Senator’s “office with a breakdown of the monetary costs associated with manufacturing recently mandated 2019 New York State license plate.” Tedisco’s FOIL request also asked for “an itemized description of each cost associated with making the new plates.”

The DMV’s response, which was received in the mail yesterday, denied the request by Tedisco’s Office, saying that they do “not have a way to know which records in our possession” to look at and that “any response would involve making a series of judgments based on subjective opinions.”

“The legendary Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward once warned of the threat of ‘secret government’ and that ‘democracies die in darkness.’ Democracy is sadly dying in New York State government when a state Senator, member of the media or any ordinary citizen can’t see a simple freedom of information law request fulfilled. Instead, what we got from the Cuomo Administration in our FOIL request was a bunch of mumbo jumbo so they can continue to stonewall, obfuscate and be disingenuous with the truth as to why they are fleecing taxpayers with their highway heist to force them to pay for new license plates they don’t need,” said Senator Jim Tedisco.

Tedisco previously released an analysis his office did of the costs to manufacture New York State license plates and found they cost taxpayers $2.3 million per year ($1.15 per plate). He projects the state will reap a $70 million two-year windfall with revenue collected from the $25 per plate fee. This does not even consider additional revenue the state would receive from those who want to keep their current plate number and pay an extra $20 per plate for that “convenience.”

“Clearly, my projections on the cost of the license plates must be on the nose because the Administration refuses to give us the real numbers and they haven’t’ disputed our calculations,” said Senator Tedisco. “Maybe the Governor can run another online contest to gauge public opinion on what’s the best way to pick the pockets of taxpayers! He’s certainly on point with this tax grab!”

Tedisco reemphasized that despite the Cuomo Administration’s distortions, there is no mandated $25 plate replacement fee in New York State law. The law states from Part H of the 2009 Budget that the Administration can charge a fee “not to exceed $25.” Clearly, as Governor Paterson did in 2009 when he instituted the last plate replacement program and charged $0 per plate, Governor Cuomo has chosen the maximum $25 fee.

Lastly, it is important to note that neither Tedisco nor any Republican, voted yes on the 2009 law to allow any governor to charge a fee “not to exceed $25.”

“The Governor has the sole authority to not charge the $25 fee and as little as zero without legislative intervention. The Thruway and law enforcement say that New York’s current plates are readable. If the Governor wants to end this obfuscation, he should do the right thing now and stop this $70 million cash grab before it becomes a negotiating chip in next year’s state budget and announce that no readable New York plate will be replaced or assessed a fee,” said Senator Tedisco.