License Tag Refunds Not in Law

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. Most Floridians drivers will see a reduction in the tag and other license fees in September, but more than a half million drivers who planned ahead will end up paying more than everyone else for the first year of the tax cut.

Renewing you car tag after September 1, 2014, will cost you less than last year. Small car fees will go down by $5, mid-size by $8, and large vehicles by $11.50.

Since September of last year, nearly 600,000 people have purchased a two year sticker, pushing their renewal into 2015 and some in to 2016. Legislation ordering the lower rates specifically says there will be no refunds.

“I call it a shame. A dirty shame," said Rep. Janet Cruz, D-Tampa.

But a number of lawmakers like Cruz are crying foul.

"I'm happy that the tax is being reduced, but I think that we need to take a look at those folks that bought a two-year tag that were offered by us," Cruz said.

Even the original Republican sponsor, Rep. Mike Hill of Pensacola, is raising his eyebrows.

Reporter: Do they deserve a refund?
"Oh, I would think so. I'm just glad we can at least press on, press forward with getting it done. But you're right that is an issue with those who have paid for two years. What about them?"

Giving everyone a refund who has at least a year left on their tag when rates go down in September will cost the state about 15 million dollars.

Rep. Debbie Mayfield of Vero Beach voted for the hike at the height of the recession back in 2009. She says a refund is worth studying, but, "Some of the people that had renewed their license for the two-year period, therefore they paid the lower fee for two years at the time other people paid the increase. And now it's just going back the opposite way.”

Governor Rick Scott has scheduled a bill signing for Wednesday.

Prior to the fee hike in 2009, tag fees had not been raised since 1986. The 2009 hike was based on the rate of inflation since the previous hike in tag fees.

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