Florida one step closer to trimming vehicle fees

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A bill moving through the Florida Senate would save truckers and other drivers a few bucks as early as this fall when paying vehicle license fees.

Spurred by a tax relief package sought by Gov. Rick Scott, the bill would eventually 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 $400 million in tax and fee cuts in the months leading up to his re-election bid.

Sponsored by Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, the bill targets the five-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 recent 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.

The bill’s next stop is the Senate Appropriations Committee. SB156 can be voted on by the full Senate once the regular session begins March 4. If approved, it would move to the House before going to the governor.

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