TALLAHASSEE, Fla.-- At the height of a recession and state budget shortfall in 2009, lawmakers raised taxes on cigarettes and vehicle registrations. At least the license plate fees should be coming off the books.
Florida nearly doubled the cost of registering a car during the recession. Now Florida’s Senate has unanimously voted to roll back license plate fees to pre-2009 levels.
Sen. Joe Negron, a Republican from Stuart, is pleased.
“The reductions that will take effect through this bill will go to families that get up every day, take their kids to school, and drive their truck to work.”
Fees went up in 2009 with then Governor Charlie Christ in office. Governor Rick Scott has made the fee rollbacks a top priority. The bill would cut $395 million dollars a year and save most drivers about 25 bucks on tag renewals.
“A couple of years ago when the economy was down, we did the responsible thing, we did the responsible thing of raising these fees so we can keep the lights on,” Sen. Chris Smith, a Fort Lauderdale Democrat, said.
The rollbacks won’t help everybody. People who need to newly register their plates in Florida won’t have their fees reduced.
First time vehicle registration prices also went up in 2009 and can cost more than 400 dollars. Senator Greg Evers supports the current bill, but says new registrations need to be cheaper.
“Did we go far enough?" Evers said. "I think next year is another year and I don’t think we can get it in this year's budget.”
Negron agreed and said the legislature needs to look at that in the future. He also urged drivers not to wait for the bill to become a law in order to renew their tags.
“If you’re holding off please pay on time, we don’t want you to pay a fee for paying it late,” Negron said.
Fee reductions will take effect in September if the bill becomes a law.
The amount of money saved will depend on the size of your vehicle. Many trucks and SUV’s will see the most savings.