truckers, already reeling from a possible 42 percent hike in weight-based
IRP fees, are facing additional increases, this time involving
their Vehicle License Fees.
fees are covered under the International Registration Plan, an
interstate compact that regulates reciprocal registration fees
paid by truckers. Some truckers could pay $2,000 more than what
they pay now.
to a letter sent by Ken Reed, chief of the state's IRP office,
the Vehicle License Fee dropped in 1998 after the General Assembly
passed a law that cut the payments made by vehicle owners subject
to California registration. However, the same bill, Reed wrote,
required the fee to return to its previous, higher level when
California's general fund did not have enough money to pay for
the "offset," or reduction.
is in the midst of a significant budget crisis, facing a state
deficit of up to $38 billion for the year. State officials have
not yet been able to reach an agreement on the budget, despite
the fact that it was due eight days ago. Major cuts are expected
in many programs, and the 1998 law, requiring the fees to go up,
has been triggered.
letter, dated June 23 and sent to Robert Pitcher, president of
the International Registration Plan Inc., said the change would
be effective Oct. 1, 2003.
fee is based on a percentage of a truck's value. On a $100,000
rig, the fee last year would be $650. After Oct. 1, the fee on
that hypothetical truck will rise to its former level, roughly
- both those based in California and those who only travel through
it - already faced higher fees because of another state action
Gore, a spokeswoman for the Department of Finance, told Land Line
because of a new law in the year 2000, California changed from
calculating its weight-based IRP fees based on unladen weight
to using laden weight. That action put it in compliance with how
most member states in the International Registration Plan operate.
2000 bill in California was supposed to be "revenue neutral,"
meaning it was supposed to neither add nor subtract from the state's
revenue. But instead, the change left the state highway fund short
- some media reports say as much as $160 million short. The Sacramento
Bee reported that the 2000 bill called for an adjustment in the
fee schedule if the new laden weight-based structure didn't produce
the same amount of revenue as the old system.
officials calculated that an increase of 42 percent would be necessary
to make up the difference - the exact amount of fee increase being
said the proposal, now part of Assembly bill 1767, came out of
a conference committee that was working out differences between
the Assembly and Senate version of the state budget.
Business Services unit at the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers
Association said the basic fee is now $1,700 on the largest tractor-trailers.
According to Bill Branch, a spokesman for the California DMV,
AB1767 the 42 percent increase would bring that to $2,420.
AB1767 passes, then a California trucker who owns a rig valued
at $100,000 and who runs 100 percent of his or her miles in the
state could face an increase in total state fees of roughly $2,000.
said commercial vehicles in California pay three types of fees
to the state: the weight-based IRP fees; the Vehicle License Fee,
based on the truck's purchase price or current value and the registration
fee, which is a flat rate. In addition, truckers also pay various
fees to California counties.
Mark H. Reddig, associate editor
Reddig can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.