Senate bill reduces vehicle fees

A new senate bill seeking to cut vehicle registration costs in Florida was unanimously passed at the first senate meeting in October.

If passed, Senate Bill 156 will give a tax break to Floridians by reducing motor vehicle license fees. It will also reduce the service charges drivers are forced to pay for an original or duplicate license plate.

The bill, proposed by Sen. Joe Negron will decrease fees by more than half of the 2009 price hike. Former Gov. Charlie Christ raised the fees during Florida’s worst economic recession in 2009. That year, the state revenue collections declined 20 percent.

According to the Florida Senate, reducing the registration fees will save Florida taxpayers up to $220 million per year.
Florida Senate President Don Gaetz said in a statement that he is confident this will provide tax relief for families.

“The Senate has a history of strong support for this legislation,” he said. “During the 2013 legislative session, Sen. Negron sponsored and an overwhelmingly bipartisan majority of the Senate supported a similar bill to reduce the annual burden of vehicle registration fees.

I’m confident that 2014 will be the year we can finally make this tax relief a reality for every Floridian who drives a car, and I’m hopeful this legislation will be the foundation of a 2014 Tax Relief Package that will benefit hardworking Floridians across our state.”

The bill will also reduce a fee collected for motor vehicle registration and reduce a surcharge imposed on a license tax.

Tallahassee resident Justin Smith said he is excited about the bill and is glad new drivers will not have to pay as much as he did.

“Cars come with responsibility,” Smith said. “I’m happy that this new bill seeks to help every Florida driver. Even penny helps in today’s society. When I got my car, I had to pay a lot of fees. It’s too late for me but new drivers won’t have to pay as much if this bill is passed.”

In April, senate bill 1832 was passed. The bill reduced annual vehicle registration fees for automobiles and light trucks. The Florida House immediately certified the bill.

“The Florida Senate is dedicated to keeping money in the pockets of our hardworking Floridians,” Gaetz said. “This proposal does just that by reducing vehicle registration fees for every Floridian who owns a car.”

Akeem Gervin, a senior music industry student from Camilla, Ga., said college students could benefit from the new bill.

“Lowering vehicle registration is a smart move,” Gervin said. “It’s not only beneficial to taxpayers, but it can also help students like myself. I can use those extra funds for rising gas prices and food costs.”

The next stop for the bill is at the Appropriation Committee and the Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee. The bill expected to go into effect Sept. 1, 2014.