Ritchie Bill Would Double DMV Revenue to Counties

Patty Ritchie

June 14, 2016

Mandate Relief Measure is Top Priority of County Leaders

A bipartisan measure sponsored by State Senator Patty Ritchie that aims to boost local revenues and help hold the line on property taxes by doubling the amount counties can earn from DMV transactions has passed the Senate.

Currently, 51 out of 62 counties across New York State operate local DMV offices that process transactions and provide services required by the state.  Under current law, the state retains more than 87 percent of all fees collected for work done by the county.  Through Senator Ritchie’s legislation, Senate bill 4964-B, the percentage of revenue staying local would double.

“Our counties continue to be bogged down by costly mandates imposed by the state—and the situation concerning the low local share of DMV fees is just the latest example,” said Senator Ritchie, who formerly served as St. Lawrence County Clerk and used the office as a way to generate more than $1 million in non-tax revenue annually for the county, helping to balance budgets and hold the line on property tax increases.

“As a former county clerk, I’ve seen firsthand the amount of work our local DMV offices do on behalf of the state—and simply put, it’s not fair for our counties to be doing the heavy lifting and not be compensated fairly.  This legislation would rectify the issue, and provide counties across the state with much-needed mandate relief.”

Currently, county clerks retain only 12.7 percent of fees collected.  Under the measure sponsored by Senator Ritchie, the amount would increase to 25 percent.  In addition, the legislation would also allow county clerks to keep 60 percent of the $30 fee collected for the processing of non-driver identification cards.  As it stands now, they retain just 30 percent.

The measure was requested by the New York State Association of County Clerks, an organization which Senator Ritchie formerly served as president of.  In addition, the measure is also a top priority of the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC).

“The percentage of revenue our office receives for doing work on behalf of the state hasn’t increased since 1999—yet in that same time period, there’s certainly been an uptick in our workload,” said Oswego County Clerk Mike Backus.

“Our office works extremely hard to not only meet the needs of local residents, but also to generate the funds needed to help Oswego County make ends meet.  We would like to thank Senator Ritchie for her leadership on this issue, and for working to correct what boils down to a matter of fairness for local DMV offices across New York State.”

The measure was sent to the Assembly, where it is sponsored by Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi.