ALBANY - State residents who own a motor vehicle or enjoy hunting and fishing should be prepared to pay more.
As of Sept. 1, fees associated with driver's license renewal were hiked, and more Department of Motor Vehicle increases are on the horizon.
Drivers looking to renew their standard eight-year driver's license will now pay $64.50, up from $50.
Licenses for hunting and fishing are set to increase Oct. 1, as the state attempts to close an expected current-year $2.1 billion budget deficit that has recently been estimated as high as $20 billion.
State Budget Office spokesman Matt Anderson said Sept. 1 that there were few options for raising the funds required to operate the state government.
"These were a few of the difficult choices required to close a record $20 billion budget deficit," Anderson said. He said the vehicle registration fees haven't been increased since 1998, and the driver's license fees, since 1992.
Anderson said that about $70 million is expected to be raised by the DMV hikes alone by the end of the current budget. The hunting and fishing hikes are expected to raise an additional $16 million.
In the 2009-2010 budget, Gov. David Paterson lobbied for these hikes in DMV and hunting fees as a way to close budget shortfalls.
Starting in April, renewing a registration or a obtaining new registration will require the purchase of a new license plate each time, at $25. Further, the cost of registration itself will leap from roughly $40 to $55.
"It's of course related to the difficulties in the economy as well as the problems on Wall Street," Anderson said. "New York is particularly dependent on Wall Street for its revenues."
Outdoor enthusiast will also face fee increases.
As of Oct. 1, big and small game hunters should expect to pay $29 for a general license, up from $19.
Also, a Super Sportsman license will now be $88, up from $68, a Sportsman license will now be up $10 to $47 and a Bow-Hunting stamp will be up $5 to $21.
Anglers aren't immune to the hikes.
A standard fishing license will now cost $29 - a $10 increase.
State and county Republicans are hammering the increases, labeling them simply cloaked tax hikes.
Republican Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward said that no attempt was made to cut spending; instead the focus was only on boosting costs to the public.
The 2009-2010 budget includes roughly $4 billion dollars in rate hikes, she said.
"The worst part of it is, people don't realize exactly what it means to them until they get their electric bill, or go to DMV," Sayward said. "Then they realize how much more this is costing them."
Sayward said that the hikes on sportsman licenses wouldn't faze her too much if there was a guarantee that the money raised would go back into maintenance and expansion of fisheries and hunting and trapping sites, which she said was unlikely.
Sayward said that the Senate and Assembly GOP asked the Governor for a cost/benefit analysis of the many state holdings - including roughly 80 golf courses and some three thousand campsites.
Other increases set to take effect over the next several months include hikes in tobacco sales licenses - which becomes active Sept. 20 - while the licensing fees for exterminators have already doubled.
GOP county clerks from across the state have teamed up with minority legislators to decry the hikes at recent press conferences.
Last spring, all 30 state Senate Republicans voted against the 2009-2010 budget.