Governor backs away from new license plates, fees

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In the face of widespread opposition from New Yorkers and beleaguered state Democratic politicians, Governor Paterson says he's willing to reconsider the unpopular new Empire Gold license plates announced earlier this week.

The new plates will cost an additional $25 fee with registration ($12.50 for motorcycles). Keeping your current tag number will cost another $20. The state says they'll improve visibililty and help identify unregistered drivers. New plates were last required in 2001.

Paterson's spokesman, Morgan Hook, leaned heavily on the revenue aspect of the plan yesterday. The plates are expected to bring $130 million for the state, and Hook challenged local critic Assemblyman Lou Tobacco (R-Staten Island) to suggest another way to get the money, asking "Does he want to cut the funds from education, or Medicare, or nursing homes?" Paterson says that if state lawmakers can find the money elsewhere, he'll drop the fee.

Tobacco, for the record, also thinks the plates are ugly.

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