Michael F. Nozzolio

August 10, 2009

With the latest tax increase approved in the 2009-10 State Budget ready to take effect next month, State Senator Mike Nozzolio condemned Governor Paterson and his Democrat-controlled Senate and Assembly for imposing yet another round of taxes and fees on an already struggling Upstate economy.  This time the Democrats’ target was motor vehicle fees, most of which will go up 25 percent on virtually every type of vehicle Upstate New Yorkers use every day. Every individual who drives a car, truck, motorcycle, ATV, or boat will be paying more taxes and fees as the New York State budget that was adopted by Democrats in Albany takes effect next month. 

“Unlike residents of New York City and the downstate region, for struggling families in the Finger Lakes and other rural areas, cars are not a luxury, they are an everyday necessity,” Senator Nozzolio said.  “The New York City driven tax hike, especially hurts us in Upstate New York, because people depend on them to get to work, go to school, shop and travel throughout their communities. The Governor and the Senators and Assemblymen who approved these tax increases either don’t get it or just don't care about Upstate motorists. I do care, which is why I voted against every one of these tax and fee increases in the New York State budget. Clearly, New Yorkers cannot afford more taxes.”

Registration fees are scheduled to increase September 1, 2009 for passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles, trailers, taxis, busses, motorcycles, all terrain vehicles, construction vehicles, motorboats and custom vehicles. Drivers licenses and registration fees will go up by 25 percent, creating an additional cost to New York drivers projected to be almost $152 million over the next two years.  The cost of a drivers license will also increase 25 percent starting on September 1st".        

Senator Nozzolio voted against the new budget and proposed an alternative plan that would have avoided the tax and fees increases.  He also proposed amendments to the budget to eliminate all tax and fee hikes and restore the STAR property tax rebate checks that were eliminated in the budget.  The budget amendments were opposed by Senate Democrats and lost by only one vote.

It is estimated that these new motor vehicle increases will cost the average Upstate family more than $100.  In addition, drivers will have to pay higher Thruway tolls.

“Every month brings a new round of tax and fee hikes that Democrats in the Senate and Assembly forced on New Yorkers in the State Budget,” Senator Nozzolio said.  “Last month, it was the outrageous new State assessment fee on utility bills and medical care. This month, it’s motor vehicle fees, next it will be hunting and fishing licenses. And the biggest hit will come this Fall when homeowners don’t receive a STAR rebates check to help pay their property taxes.  This program helped offset the high cost of property taxes and kept many seniors in their homes.”

The motor vehicle fee increases were included in the more than $8.5 billion in tax and fee hikes approved by Governor Paterson and Democrats in the Senate and Assembly as part of the 2009-10 state budget. The budget is already $2.1 billion out of balance.

“The Democrats are already talking about more possible tax hikes to close a $2.1 billion deficit caused by their irresponsible $13 billion budget spending increase,” Senator Nozzolio said.  “I opposed the budget and I will continue to oppose any effort to balance the budget on the backs of upstate taxpayers. We need to do more with less and cut government spending, not increase it.”

On September 1, 2009, the following motor vehicle registration fees will be increased:

·        Passenger vehicle registration fees will increase from $44 to $55 (two year average depending on vehicle);

·        Commercial vehicle registration fees will increase from $1.21 (per 500 lbs of vehicle weight) up to $1.51 at the low end of the range and increase from $11.50 to $14.38 (per 500 lbs) at the high end;

·        Trailer registration fees will increase from an average of $34 to $42.50;

·        Taxi registration fees, on average, will increase from $48 to $60;

·        Average bus registration fees will increase from $73 to $91.25;

·        Motorcycle registration increases from $14 to $17.50;

·        All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) registration increase from $10 to $12.50; and

·        Average motorboat registrations will rise from $40 to $50;

In addition, fees will be increased to re-register vehicles, register custom vehicles and make photocopies of motor vehicle documents.

Also, starting on April 1, 2010, New Yorkers obtaining or renewing their vehicle registration will be required to purchase brand new license plates, whether they need them or not, for $25 - a $10 increase over last year. 

“The Senate Democrats’ tax hikes are costing New Yorkers more and more every month and when they are all in place, Upstate New York taxpayers will see an increase of about $ 2,400.00 a year in their taxes,” Senator Nozzolio said.  “We  must control state spending and reduce the tax burden on New Yorkers if we want to create jobs and help stabilize the economy.  Every tax hike makes New York less competitive and puts us further behind other states in recovering from the recession.”