County clerk opposed to DMV fee hikes

Larry Barmore

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s state budget proposal may not have a slew of new taxes, but it does contain hikes from existing fees that people may be unaware of.

The governor’s budget plan was unveiled last week, detailing $152 billion in spending. To help balance it, various hikes from existing fees are being proposed that people already pay.

The budget proposal depicts increases when it comes to obtaining new or duplicate vehicle titles at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Under his plan, filing an application for a new vehicle title would increase from $50 to $75. Obtaining a duplicate title would go from $20 to $40.

Obtaining a new driver’s license or non-driver ID card would increase by $5. Cuomo is proposing to waive replacement fees, however, for non-driver ID cards if they are lost or destroyed as a result of a crime.

Budget legislation also depicts a reinstatement fee increase from $25 to $100 for non-residents trying to get their driving privileges restored.

As stated in budget legislation, the fees collected would be deposited into the Dedicated Highway and Bridge Trust Fund, which was created in 1991 to provide funding to reconstruct, replace and preserve the state’s highways and bridges. Funding comes from vehicle license and certificate fees, among other sources.

While Cuomo unveiled his budget and touted there were no new taxes and one new fee, County Clerk Larry Barmore says it’s misleading the public as to the increased fees drivers would pay at the DMV.

“According to information provided from the governor’s proposed budget, these fees would be increased ‘by an inflationary base’ to raise potentially $76 million in additional revenue in 2017 and $319 million over the next four years,” he said.

While the clerk’s office doesn’t have access to specific registration information held by the state, Barmore said Chautauqua County residents will likely contribute more than $2 million of that additional revenue.

“Combine that with all of the other fee increases in the proposed budget and people already struggling in the county are going to be hit hard,” he said.

Other notable proposed fees and taxes in Cuomo’s budget include:

¯ A $5 fee to cover the cost of producing an identification card for real estate license applicants;

¯ A new tax on e-cigarette liquid that would equate to around $5 million a year;

¯ Expanding online sales tax to include companies like Amazon Marketplace or Etsy that act as a go-between for buyers and outside sellers; and

¯ An extension of a higher income tax on the wealthy.