Ga. drivers oppose paying more for special tags

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Many Georgians are saying "no" to a new annual fee imposed on owners of specialty motor vehicle license plates.

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Cindy Kane, Columbia County motor vehicle registrar, displays one of the specialty tags that people are turning in rather than pay a new $35 annual renewal fee.   Jim Blaylock/Staff
Jim Blaylock/Staff
Cindy Kane, Columbia County motor vehicle registrar, displays one of the specialty tags that people are turning in rather than pay a new $35 annual renewal fee.

"Folks are turning in their one-time-only fee plates right and left," Columbia County Tax Commissioner Kay Allen said. "We don't have an exact figure, but we know it's several hundred so far."

House Bill 1055, signed into law last summer, added a $35 renewal fee to holders of most specialty plates, including those designed to generate revenue for Georgia's nongame wildlife programs.

Previously, specialty tag holders paid a one-time charge of $25 to buy the plate, and the standard $20 renewal fee imposed on all vehicle owners, along with the ad valorem tax owed.

The new law increased the initial purchase cost of those tags to $35 and added an annual "tag renewal fee" of $35 just to keep the plate.

"This is what's getting everyone's goat," Allen said. "They bought the tag because it was helping out wildlife, and it was a one-time fee. Now they're being told there is a fee every year."

Because car tags are renewed each year on the owner's birthday, tag owners are gradually learning about the new fee. Many exchange their specialty tag for a standard one, which carries no additional fee each year.

Those exchanges, Allen added, are creating shortages of tags.

"Right now, we are begging for plates, and we're having to borrow them from other counties because we don't have enough," Allen said. "The bigger problem is that Atlanta has no plates, either, and they are having to manufacture more of them."

Georgia offers 89 specialty tags dedicated to everything from educators and Realtors to amateur radio and children's health care -- and sales of those plates are down.

"Right now, some people might be keeping the old ones but we don't have many requests for new ones," said Nancy Mims, the director of motor vehicles for Augusta-Richmond County.

Many vehicle owners who choose a regular tag in lieu of their specialty plate simply renew online and do not have to turn in their specialty plate physically, Mims said, which makes it harder to track how many specialty tag owners are giving up their plates.

"We're just starting to get some numbers from the Department of Revenue, and we're trying to see what it will mean for us," said Rick Lavender, spokesman for the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division's Nongame Conservation Section. That office relies heavily on sales of eagle and hummingbird plates, which have raised about $26 million since the program began in 1997.

Previously, $22 of the $25 fee to buy a bald eagle or hummingbird plate was returned to the wildlife program. Under the new system, $10 from the sale of each new plate and $10 from each renewal will be designated for the conservation programs.

Some tags, such as personalized "prestige" plates -- and those supporting the University of Georgia and other colleges and universities -- already had an annual $25 renewal fee, which increased to $35 under the new law.

"What we're seeing is that those college plates aren't being turned back in like a lot of the ones that had no annual fee," Mims said.

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gpb
3
Points
gpb 01/14/11 - 02:56 am
0
0
Georgia legislators: There's

Georgia legislators: There's this thing called a Laffer curve--as taxes and fees go up, it reaches a point where people say to the devil with it and don't do whatever it is that incurs the fee or tax, and as a result, total revenue goes down. I'd suggest this fee is on the wrong side of that curve. You might want to grab a basic economics text and look into it, or take a microecon course at ASU, which is what I did in 1983. Time and money well spent. Just a thought.

usapatriot
0
Points
usapatriot 01/14/11 - 02:59 am
0
0
Another example of

Another example of politicians and bureaucrats being out of touch. I'm sure they were salivating over what they thought would be increased revenues. Now, there's a chance you'll lose revenue.

Never underestimate the over taxed public. Fees, taxes, they come from the left and right with dizzying regularity.

Tags
Phones
Hunting
Fishing
Park Use
Cable
Satellite
911
Parking
Franchise Fee
Oil disposal Fee
Tire disposal Fee
Battery Disposal Fee
SPLOST
Hotel tax

there are more. many more. feel free to add on

Georgialina
7441
Points
Georgialina 01/14/11 - 03:21 am
0
0
Enough with the tax

Enough with the tax increases. This is just another tax being imposed on us by big brother. For many years now I have had one of the plates that have a $25 renewal fee as well as the $25 specialty fee and the ad valorem fee. I have paid this every year but I will not again. The $10 increase is the final straw and the fact that the charities will only get $10 of the $35 I am spending is the icing on the cake. I will take the $35 and give it to them myself that way they get the whole $35 not just $10 of it.

Georgialina
7441
Points
Georgialina 01/14/11 - 03:27 am
0
0
gpb- I read your post after I

gpb- I read your post after I posted and I guess I just made your point. You are correct this tax is on the negative side of the Laffer Curve. I too learned this at ASU and UGA 20-something years ago.

Tisk tisk what is this world coming to
0
Points
0
0
Just imagine if Americans

Just imagine if Americans would do that on more tax and political related issues... Well one can wish can't he?

charliemanson
1
Points
charliemanson 01/14/11 - 07:36 am
0
0
Isn't Ga a red state? I

Isn't Ga a red state? I thought red states are suppose to be cutting taxes/fees???

Riverman1
93233
Points
Riverman1 01/14/11 - 07:36 am
0
0
I can imagine a police

I can imagine a police officer calling in some of these tags.

"I'm pulling SexyLady for uh...erratic driving."

onlysane1left
223
Points
onlysane1left 01/14/11 - 07:38 am
0
0
Most fees, and such, are

Most fees, and such, are added on to pay for the department they are under. When you shrink the budgets of these departments, they get "creative" on how they will make up their gap. Here is just one example. When you ask for smaller government and for them to do more with less, here is your result.......

Rob Pavey
552
Points
Rob Pavey 01/14/11 - 08:06 am
0
0
the state is going through

the state is going through tough times - and this House Bill is more than 120 pages long and included fees for dozens of other things - kennel licenses to antifreeze testing. DNR, though, has already lost more than a third of its budget. I didn't have room for all of it in our story, but some of the money from those wildlife plates is spent close to home in places like the McDuffie Environmental Education Center at the Dearing fish hatchery, and at Yuchi Wildlife Management Area in Burke County. Those plate patrons also helped the state buy the Dukes Pond site near Di-Lane Plantation. Dukes pond is a rookery for endangered wood storks - and it produces some big whitetails too.

NewHere
0
Points
NewHere 01/14/11 - 08:17 am
0
0
No more money for the

No more money for the state...tax and spend republicans

workedforit
0
Points
workedforit 01/14/11 - 08:43 am
0
0
I gave up all four of mine,
Unpublished

I gave up all four of mine, this was dirty pool, try to sneak an annual charge on top of what was promised to be a one time fee. On top of that it actually cost the state money because they had to replace the wildlife tags. Bunch of idiots in charge, that is for sure.

raul
5714
Points
raul 01/14/11 - 09:14 am
0
0
Not a well thought out plan.

Not a well thought out plan. Maybe they should have done a small survey to see what the impact of this would have been.

hhwilli
0
Points
hhwilli 01/14/11 - 09:25 am
0
0
I ordered a plate with my

I ordered a plate with my rather unique first name one year before the law was changed to make these specialty (or vanity) plates chargeable annually. The change made (and still makes) no sense to me, since the only cost to the state is the making of the plate initially; but, I have found a solution. I use my vanity plate on the front of my vehicle.
It works for me!

OJP
7700
Points
OJP 01/14/11 - 09:27 am
0
0
Despite the campaign rhetoric

Despite the campaign rhetoric used to drum up support, Republicans are no better at cutting spending than Democrats. The difference? Democrats are up front about the costs and seek to raise taxes; Republicans back-door the increases.

harryhoo
0
Points
harryhoo 01/14/11 - 09:31 am
0
0
Either I'm not reading the

Either I'm not reading the article correctly or it is incorrect. I've been paying $25 additional EACH YEAR for my specialty tag.

nevertoolate
291
Points
nevertoolate 01/14/11 - 09:31 am
0
0
TUH HEE! Not only have they

TUH HEE! Not only have they cut their revenue, they have increased their costs by having to manufacture replacement plates.

Rob Pavey
552
Points
Rob Pavey 01/14/11 - 09:49 am
0
0
hi, harryhoo. I did address

hi, harryhoo. I did address that in our story but it was in last two paragraphs. Some plates - like the personalized 'prestige' tags and the UGA and other college/universtiy tags - already had an annual $25 renewal fee that went up to $35, so those folks only have a $10 per year increase. But most of the 89 'special tags' offered - including wildlife-related ones and the 'antique auto' (which I have one of) were one-time purchases with no annual fee, and which now require an additional $35 per year to keep.

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 01/14/11 - 09:53 am
0
0
At least as of now they have

At least as of now they have a choice as to whether or not they want to pay the fee. If too many of them drop out then we'll probably see mandatory tag fee increases for everyone (or some other mandatory tax to make up for it).

The government is going to get our money that they think they deserve one way or another. It's what they do.

Sweet son
11492
Points
Sweet son 01/14/11 - 01:54 pm
0
0
Didn't Richard Pryor have

Didn't Richard Pryor have skit that talked about "pressing license plates"? I think that he was referring to prisoners. I believe the Georgia Correctional folks should start "pressing more license plates." LOL, it was a good skit!

Longtime CSRA resident
1
Points
Longtime CSRA resident 01/14/11 - 05:02 pm
0
0
Why is it that the specialty

Why is it that the specialty tag has to be turned in at the tag office if you want to get a standard tag? It's not like we didn't already pay for the tag - what was the one time "manufacturing fee" for? But if you renew your tag online, you can keep the specialty tag and get a standard one?

badboytoys
1
Points
badboytoys 01/14/11 - 09:04 pm
0
0
Government at work. Bet that

Government at work. Bet that was decided over Steak and Wine dinners we pay for. OH! And caviar.

Richmnd Cty Votr
1
Points
Richmnd Cty Votr 01/14/11 - 09:20 pm
0
0
Which Commissioner's BRAIN

Which Commissioner's BRAIN STORM was this? What did you think was gonna happen,? Now you won't have anyone buying the more expensive tags and have to make more. Sorry but OUR pockets are getting emptier by the minute, and we too have to cut back. This will cost more in the LONG RUN. WAY TO GO! NICE JOB!

Richmnd Cty Votr
1
Points
Richmnd Cty Votr 01/14/11 - 09:26 pm
0
0
I believe some of the folks

I believe some of the folks should get the money back from the tag they bought originally! They said when I bought this tag there was NOT going to be an extra fee next year, and it was a one time charge. Someone should get sued for this, crap. This new price should be for NEW TAGS only! Ours should be grandfathered in.

pgackerman
0
Points
pgackerman 01/14/11 - 09:40 pm
0
0
I am so proud of Georgians.

I am so proud of Georgians. In a previous state I lived in the sheep would have just paid the bill.

louie7575
0
Points
louie7575 01/15/11 - 09:13 am
0
0
Richmond Cty you are so

Richmond Cty you are so right, it should only be for the new ones. Not the ones that have had them for years. My birthday is this month and they are getting my tag back.

Richmnd Cty Votr
1
Points
Richmnd Cty Votr 01/15/11 - 12:34 pm
0
0
They will get ALL THREE of

They will get ALL THREE of mine back if they are gonna make me pay another cent extra. LIARS!

DoggieMom
344
Points
DoggieMom 01/16/11 - 06:00 pm
0
0
What the state hasn't figured

What the state hasn't figured out is that many of us bought these tags BECAUSE they said they only involved a ONE TIME FEE. They are basically breaking their own law!
Ironically, I see many MCG plates in the Augusta area, but since they are changing the name of the school, ALL those folks should just turn in the tag and have a generic license plate.

My state rep has repeatedly said "We haven't raised any taxes", and yet examples such as this come to light all the time.
Recently, our property taxes nearly doubled, but the whole neighborhood asked for reassessments, and the county lost big time! How does the county think they can say our houses have doubled in value, when no one can sell, and the few that have, sold at a huge loss. Those low sale prices had to be used to reassess the neighborhood.

sojumaster
19
Points
sojumaster 11/21/11 - 02:29 pm
0
0
@doggiemom ... He is right,

@doggiemom ... He is right, They didn't raise any taxes, they just created new ones or call them "fees". Its all in the verbage.

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