On September 1, fees for an original or renewal Florida driver’s license, annual motor vehicle registration, license tags and other fees increased in an attempt by the Florida Legislature to fill an $8 billion budget deficit.
In the Legislative session earlier this year, lawmakers proposed an $800 million increase from fees associated with driving. The additional revenue will go to the state’s operating fund that pays for the daily operation of Florida schools, prisons and healthcare.
The fee for an original Class E driver’s license, which has not risen since 1989, nearly doubled from $27 to $48. A six-year renewal for a Class E increased from $20 to $48. The replacement license fee for a lost or stolen license jumped from $10 to $25.
“These new base fees were established by the Florida Legislature as part of the state’s budget development process,” said Ann Nucatola, representative for the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
Florida residents must renew their vehicle’s registration annually. The registration use, license plate type and class code are used to determine a vehicle’s registration fees. The class code is determined by the vehicle’s weight and body type.
According to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle’s sample registration fee calculator, the price for a 2007 Acura 4-door sedan with a net weight of 3,586 pounds and regular non-specialty license plate will be $71.85. The previous total was $46.80. That is a $25.05 difference.
Initial vehicle registration fees also skyrocketed from $100 to $225.
Some students wonder why the government turns to raising taxes and fees for residents when financial problems arise.
“It is unfortunate for Florida drivers to be assessed these fee increases,” said Janna Williams, 19, a senior, human resource management student at Florida State University.
The State legislature said that if it weren’t for the fee increase more government jobs would have been cut.
“I don’t think this increase is a big deal and one thing people don’t understand is that money from these fees [goes] to the Florida Department of Transportation,” said WanaKee Howard, 21, a fourth-year nursing student from Miami.
In addition to the fee increase, beginning Jan. 1, 2010 the DHSMV will require Floridians renewing or obtaining a new driver’s license or state ID to provide identification, Social Security and a residential address. To help residents understand the new requirements, the DHSMV launched an educational campaign. The campaign Web site is www.GatherGoGet.com.
“Although it does not currently affect me, in the future when I renew my license I will not look forward to [paying] the fees,” Williams said.
For a complete chart of the new fees visit http://www.flhsmv.gov/MotoristFees.htm.