NY Governor: Pay Your Taxes or We’ll Take Your Driver’s License

Daniel Doherty
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Posted: Aug 07, 2013 7:15 AM
NY Governor: Pay Your Taxes or We’ll Take Your Driver’s License

Roughly half of all Americans don’t pay federal income taxes. And yet in New York:

The state is putting the brakes on tax scofflaws.

Gov. Cuomo plans to announce a program today that allows New York to suspend the driver’s licenses of taxpayers who owe more than $10,000, The Post has learned.

The state estimates it will recoup $26 million this fiscal year and about $6 million a year in future years.

The first round of suspension notices are being sent to 16,000 tax delinquents, who have 60 days to pay the bill or make satisfactory arrangements to cough up the money.

Otherwise, they’ll find themselves walking or taking buses and subways.

Not quite:

Those who lose their licenses will have the option to apply for a restricted license to drive to and from work.

“If you can’t pay in full, our staff is available to help you arrange a payment plan that will satisfy your debt,” said Taxation and Finance Commissioner Thomas Mattox.

Delinquent taxpayers have 60 days from the mailing date to arrange payment with the department.

After that, the Department of Motor Vehicles will send a second letter giving them 15 days to respond.

And if that doesn’t work, scofflaws’ licenses will be suspended until the debts are paid or a payment plan has been agreed to.

The New York Post goes on to point out that this legislation was indeed part of Gov. Cuomo’s latest budget proposal, and was signed into law several months ago. But only about four percent of New Yorkers don’t pay their (ahem) “fair share” (although one guy does owe $16.7 million dollars in back taxes), so one inevitably wonders about the wisdom of such a bill and how much tax revenue it will actually bring in over the long haul. Cuomo, of course, argues that if citizens refuse to pay their taxes why should they be allowed to drive on the roads, bridges and highways the rest of the public pays for? I suppose this isn’t the worst principle on which to craft public policy (and, in fairness, the government projects revenue increases as high as $26 million this year). But government projections are almost always wrong. And if you haven’t obeyed the law in years, why on earth would you start now simply because you might lose your driver’s license? Wouldn’t criminals just ignore that law, too?