New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo continues to come under fire for his new license plate design proposal, this time with Internet buzzing with speculation the whole thing is rigged.
Last month, the governor announced that he was launching a statewide survey (which has since closed without results being announced) to allow New Yorkers to vote on the design of a new license plate, with each of the five proposals featured Empire State landmarks.
One of the plates features the new Tappan Zee Bridge, whose official name, Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, was pushed through by the governor to honor his late father. The other four designs were relatively similar to each other.
Those facts have drawn speculation and suspicion by talking heads on the Internet, who noted that the bridge is not a tourist stop.
Nate Silver, an election analyst and editor-in-chief of FiveThirtyEight took to Twitter, calling the vote “rigged.”
“LOL yeah this indeed seems kind of rigged in favor of the Mario Cuomo (née Tappan Zee) Bridge license plate,” he posted. “A bunch of near-identical Statue of Liberty designs will split the SoL vote.”
“Certainly there’s a number of landmarks that could be used,” said Brian Kolb, an upstate Republican who serves as minority leader in the State Assembly told The New York Times. “I don’t think the Mario Cuomo Bridge is one of them.”
The results of the license plate design proposal are expected to be released soon, as voting ended at midnight on Labor Day.
Last month, Cuomo announced the license plate replacement program. Beginning on April 1, 2020, if license plates are at least 10 years old, drivers will be charged $25 for new plates, regardless of their current condition. Drivers would also be charged $20 to keep their current license plate numbers.
In response, Assemblyman Chris Tague launched a survey of his own that will allow New Yorkers to pick designs mocking the governor and his license plate contest.
“Today I'm launching a survey to select Gov. Cuomo’s new custom license plate design,” Tague posted on Facebook with images of mock license plates that include the governor’s face and text such as “HIGH TAXES,” “NO FRDM,” “NO NEW JOBS,” and “LUV CRIME.”
“YOUR VOTE will help choose the license plate that you believe most closely resembles Gov. Cuomo and his policies. The license plate with the most votes will become the official custom license plate that will be nominated for Gov. Cuomo to personally adopt. These license plates are symbols of who the governor truly is and all New Yorkers should have a voice and a vote in its design! “
The survey comes after Sen. James Tedisco launched an online petition of his own to speak out against license plate fees. Congressman Angelo Santabarbara also introduced legislation that would ban the state from forcing drivers to replace license plates in fine condition, no matter the age.
- Related story: What's Your Take On New License Plates? DMV Letting New Yorkers Vote On These Five Choices
“This administration has more angles than a geometry book to get into the pockets of taxpayers," Tedisco stated. "This License Plate Tax is truly highway robbery for the over-taxed and over-burdened taxpayers of New York State in the form of a new $70 million tax.
"Where is this $70 million windfall going and why should taxpayers not only have to foot the bill for the shoddy and inferior license plates created by 3M that are peeling but also for whatever other mystery projects this tax grab is funding. The Governor and DMV should do the right thing for taxpayers and revoke this license plate tax now.”
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