Vehicle registration rebates under review in Nevada

| 4/22/2005

Some of the money Nevadans paid last year to register their vehicles soon could be back in their pockets. Truck drivers in the state would be among those receiving the greatest benefit.

Legislation in the Nevada Assembly and Senate would use some of the state’s surplus funds to give residents rebates on their vehicle registrations.

The state has $300 million in extra funds that could be earmarked for the rebates, The Associated Press reported.

The Senate effort, sponsored by Sen. Bob Beers, R-Las Vegas, would rebate to drivers either $100 or the full registration fee they would pay on each vehicle, whichever is less.

The Assembly version, sponsored by Assemblywoman Sharron Angle, R-Reno, would do the same thing, but with the flat rebate rate set at $300.

Residents who registered their cars, trucks, motorcycles, trailers and recreational vehicles would be eligible for a refund check. Businesses would also receive the refunds.

Vehicle owners could use the rebates only after registration fees paid in fiscal 2006.

Beers’ bill would use $65 million for the rebates while Angle’s effort would use $196 million, The AP reported.

Gov. Kenny Guinn announced plans during his State of the State Address in January to use the state’s surplus to refund vehicle registration fees. He proposed a rebate of up to $300 per vehicle.

After studying several tax-rebate options, Guinn said the tax registration fees at the DMV is the most practical and fairest way to refund the surplus.

Opponents have questioned whether a registration rebate is the best option for the state’s surplus funds, which resulted from a strong economy and increased taxes passed during the 2003 session.

U.S. Rep. Jim Gibbons, R-NV, praised the proposal, noting “it is the taxpayers’ money first, not the government’s.”

“Now that our state government enjoys a large surplus, I am pleased that Nevada’s working men and women will be able to keep more of their hard-earned tax dollars,” Gibbons said in a recent statement.

AB447 is in the Assembly Ways and Means Committee. SB366 is in the Senate Finance Committee.