The ticket campaign
targeting Alabama truckers tagged in Oklahoma is history,
but there are still some problems to be worked out if Alabama
wants those truckers to come home.
The tickets were part
of the brouhaha arising from Alabama-based trucks getting
cheaper tags in Oklahoma through agents that operated offices
in that state. Revenue Department officials, complaining
about the drop in tag revenue, began ticketing those truckers
for improper registration.
“They were stopping
everybody and anybody,” Frank Filgo, president of the Alabama
Trucking Association, said. Filgo’s group and a number of
trucking companies countered with a lawsuit to stop the ticketing.
“At least 20 trucking
companies were part of our action,” Filgo told Land Line. “These
people had registered in Oklahoma, and we felt the tags should
have been good for at least 12 months. Alabama wanted them
switched over to Alabama registration immediately, in the
middle of the year, and that would not have been advantageous.”
Recently, the two sides
signed an agreement to end the legal fight. Trucking companies
involved in the case agreed that they would register either
in Alabama or another state where they had a physical presence.
The state said it would make the tickets go away.
Filgo said the state
department of revenue did not admit wrongdoing, but decided
the tickets were the wrong route to achieve its goals. The
department is now taking the audit route, he says. The bad
news is, to come back home, the trucking companies will be
obligated to pay property taxes, sales taxes and other fees
for years they were registered in Oklahoma.
According to one report
by The Associated Press, the state revenue department
has begun audits of some companies and estimated more than
$20 million could be at stake in back taxes.
Currently, Filgo says,
the association has not fully explored the possibility of
some kind of amnesty.
by Sandi Soendker,