New Reports Highlight Economic Benefits of Driver’s Licenses to All NY Drivers

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Image courtesy of Bruno Belcastro

The New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer, the New York Immigration Coalition, and the Fiscal Policy Institute have released two reports on the economic benefits of allowing all New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status, to obtain driver’s licenses. Primarily, it would give families better economic mobility, meaning they would have access to higher paying jobs and better resources, which would then filter back into the local economy.

Other benefits of these extending these licenses include:

  • New York State would collect up to $9.6 million in driver’s license fees, with an additional $1.3 million for the MTA, offsetting any program costs.
  • Auto sales would increase by 2.7%, generating tens of millions of dollars in registration and title fees, as well as vehicle and gasoline sales taxes, which would benefit the state as well as the local economy.
  • More drivers would be lower insurance premiums for New York City’s 3.6 million licensed drivers.
  • Expanding the program to Long Island and Western New York, where cars are more necessary for day-to-day travel, would only increase these funds for the state as well as fuel local economic growth.

Currently, twelve states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico all allow for undocumented individuals to have driver’s licenses.

New York State Assemblyman Francisco Moya introduced a bill, A4050, on Tuesday, January 31st, that would allow individuals the ability to obtain a driver’s license, regardless of immigration status. However, the bill will require data not be stored in perpetuity and that any request for this information by an outside party be accompanied by a judicial warrant, so undocumented immigrants could not be identified through the system.

You can read the Comptroller’s report here and the Fiscal Policy Institute’s report here.

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Sara Roncero-Menendez is the Online Editor for Long Island Wins. Prior to joining the Long Island Wins team, she graduate from NYU's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute and worked as a reporter for publications like Mashable, The Huffington Post, and PSFK. She became involved in immigration issues and advocacy while working towards her Masters degree at The University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign. After joining the Graduate Employee Organization Local 6300, she worked on helping international and undocumented students work with the administration to get fair financial aid and fellowship opportunities. Sara also works on issues of representation in mass media, including film and television, and works on media reviews and podcast.

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