Florida bill would trim vehicle fees

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 10/11/2013

A tax relief package sought in Florida would save truckers and other drivers a few bucks when paying vehicle license fees.

The Senate Transportation Committee voted on Wednesday, Oct. 9, to get the ball rolling on a bill that would trim about $240 million from the fees and surcharges applied to license plate purchases, replacement or transfers and vehicle registration.

The fee increases were implemented in 2009 to help close a state budget shortfall.

As the state government anticipates more than $800 million in surplus revenues in the next year, Gov. Rick Scott is advocating for $500 million in tax and fee cuts one year before his re-election bid. He hasn’t identified which tax or fee cuts he will pursue.

The bill introduced by Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, targets the four-year-old vehicle fees. The cuts would save most people $12 on vehicle registrations.

“I’m confident that 2014 will be the year we can finally make this tax relief a reality,” Negron said in a news release.

Specifically, the bill would benefit truckers and motorists by reducing the fee for issuance of original, duplicate or transfer license plates, or transfer or duplicate registration certificates from $5 to $2.50. The service charge that is applied when using an automated vending facility or printer dispenser machine to issue a license plate sticker would be trimmed from $3 to $1. Also, motor vehicle registrations or registration renewal license plates and validation stickers for retroflection material would be reduced from $1.50 to 50 cents.

The surcharge on the license tax would be reduced from $4 to $2. The juvenile programs surcharge on the license tax would also be reduced from $5.50 to $1.

SB156 can be voted on by the full Senate once the 2014 regular session begins in March.

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