Tag Fee Dilemma

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By: Mike Vasilinda

Florida motorists are likely to see lower license plate fees after July, but the question of how much is still up in the air. State senators want to cut fees by 12 dollars a year, paying for the drop by eliminating a tax break for insurance companies, but the House is crying foul.

Writing a check to pay for your license plate can be painful. The cost jumped 65 percent in 2009 when lawmakers needed cash

Two competing plans want to lower your cost by twelve dollars a year. The difference is how quickly you’ll see the savings.

The State Senate wants to do it all this year, voting 39 to nothing to eliminate an insurance industry tax break to pay for it. “I feel like it will be a better use of those funds to reduce the increase from 2009 by 55 percent.”, says bill sponsor, Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart.

But House members who weren’t even considering the cut until the Senate suggested it are saying not so fast; literally. They want to keep the tax break for insurance companies and lower tag fees over five years. “The combined reduction on these fees will be two dollars and forty cents per registration the first year then growing by that amount for the next four years.”, says Rep. Steve Crisafulli, R-Brevard County.

The vote was unanimous in committee. Democrats joined Republicans who are worried that eliminating the tax break could cost jobs. “Cities like Jacksonville and Tampa where they have like call centers and things you know big operations like that, have a lot of employees. They thought other states may be more attractive to the fact we took the incentive away. “, says Rep. Joe Gibbons, D-Hollywood

We caught up with Chant’i Thomas who was forking over 57.65 for a new tag. “Even better. Any time they take the cost of anything down this day and age it’s great.”

House and Senate leaders plan to keep talking about the reduction in fees over the weekend and early next week.

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