You Won’t be Seeing This in El Paso

you_wont_see-epEl Paso officials are notorious for establishing fees to deal with one crisis or another. When the crisis is over with most individuals expect that the fees should be rescinded giving the taxpayer some respite from fees and taxes. Of course, you all know this is a wish that never comes true. Truth be told, this same attitude about government entities placing fees that are only added to but never taken away can be said of most government entities, if not all.

Imagine my surprise waking up last week to learn that the registration fee for my car is going down this year. Florida governor Rick Scott proposed rolling back vehicle registration fees as part of a $500 million tax and fee relief package he had submitted to the Florida legislature earlier this year.

The vehicle registration fees were raised in 2009 by the Florida legislature in order to deal with the economic downturn in the state. On March of this year, the Florida legislature voted unanimously to repeal the fee increase imposed in 2009. The vote was prompted because the state was now recovering from the 2009 depression. Because of the action by the legislature and the governor, my vehicle registration fees were cut almost in half.

Imagine that! Florida has rolled back a fee imposed on taxpayers because it served its original purpose.

The new rate for my vehicle is now $21.55 per year. That is a savings of about $20 on my car. Since Florida does not have a state inspection requirement or an environmental inspection fee my automobile registration is only $21.55 a year. Wow! Also, since Florida allows me to pay for two-year registrations I can lock in my savings for two years in case the legislature decides to raise the fees again next year.

This type of taxpayer relief is something that taxpayers should be entitled to, however in El Paso you are likely to get a water franchise fee increase before any politician even thinks about reducing a fee that has served its original intended purpose. Instead, any fee surplus is just allocated to another taxpayer-funded project.

Much pontification was made last month as the city politicians argued that they were holding the line on taxes while raising fees to offset the rising debt service the city is facing. Raising fees in El Paso has become a time honored “hidden tax” gambit that allows them to argue that they are holding the line on taxes. Never mind that most El Paso taxpayers feel that they are overly taxed regularly as the city continues to spend on follies such as the ballpark and the trolley.

Those that continue to tell me that I shouldn’t write about El Paso because I don’t live there anymore, well I’ve partially answered your wish by writing about the lower vehicle registration fee I’m going to be paying in Florida.

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