With the recent rollback in vehicle registration fees, the Alachua County Tax Collector’s Office predict increased incoming traffic from residents with soon-to-expire tags.
The vehicle registration fee cut was effective Sept. 1. However, the Alachua County Tax Collector’s Office, along with others across the state, agreed to keep mailing offices open for Labor Day for those with birthdays on Sept. 1, or the first week of the month. By law, Florida motorists must renew vehicle registrations on or before their dates of birth.
Alachua County’s Chief Deputy Tax Collector John Power said the mailing department received over a thousand renewals during the holiday weekend.
“Typically, people renew through the mail a couple weeks prior to their birthday,” Power said. “But we couldn’t do them in advance and give people [you] the lower rate.“
Combined, all three tax collector’s offices in Alachua County received 1,205 renewals Tuesday, and are expecting more this week.
The new law is expected to save motorists $17 to $25 per vehicle, depending on the size.
Republican Sen. Rob Bradley said his and the Florida Legislature’s goal is to give Floridians a choice on how to spend their money.
“It’s a reflection of our philosophy,” Bradley said, “which is that Floridians should be able to keep more of their hard-earned money so that they make the decisions about how they spend it for their families.”
In 2009, vehicle registration fees were increased as part of a law signed by former governor Charlie Crist as a way to help a state budget shortfall.
Senate President Don Gaetz, one of the Republicans who voted for the higher fees in 2009, said because Florida’s economy is prospering this would be a good time to save money.
“In place of drastic cuts to essential services, annual vehicle registration fees were raised during the height of Florida’s economic decline in 2009, a year when state general revenue collections had declined more than 22 percent since their high in 2005 to 2006,” Gaetz said. “As Florida’s economy rebounds, Florida’s Legislature and governor have prioritized reducing taxes and fees.”
Scott is also looking into reducing other tax increases that passed in 2009, such as increases in the cost of a driver’s license and car title copy.