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I live in Florida.  In Florida you get to renew your vehicle registration on your birthday.  My birthday just happened, so I sent the state of Florida $57.00 so that I can drive for another year.  Fifty seven dollars is five percent of my monthly income.

Now, I don't mind paying five percent of my monthly income once a year for the privilege of driving.  It's worth it to me.  But I don't think it's fair that I have to pay 5% of my monthly income for the privilege when people who drive WAY more than I do (I drive something like 400 miles a month) pay 1% or .1% or .0001% for the same privilege.

When rich people complain about progressive taxes and the state responds by instigating "fees", less-than-rich people bear the brunt. And poor people get totally f'd.

8:49 PM PT: I just edited the title to be more specific.  My issue is with flat fees, not fees that have some kinda "sliding scale" component.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (26+ / 0-)

    If I have any spit left after I've licked my own wounds, I'll be glad to consider licking yours. Peace.

    by nancyjones on Sun May 18, 2014 at 07:50:45 PM PDT

  •  In Utah, Jon Huntsman "flattened" the tax (17+ / 0-)

    structure when he was Governor. The folks at the top all enjoyed their nice "tax cuts". But the whole thing was advertised as being "revenue neutral".

    You and I know who picked up the difference, don't we.

    There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

    by oldpotsmuggler on Sun May 18, 2014 at 07:57:27 PM PDT

    •  Flat.. (4+ / 0-)

      that's the key word.  Thanks for helping me make this diary better by inspiring the update!  I have images of Saturday morning cartoon characters getting flattened and flattened and flattened all over again.  I lost track of them, don't know what became of them, I just remember they always managed to get back up an back into the swing of things.

      If I have any spit left after I've licked my own wounds, I'll be glad to consider licking yours. Peace.

      by nancyjones on Sun May 18, 2014 at 09:39:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Here in CA the fee is based on the value of your (16+ / 0-)

    car, so there is a progressive feature built in. People who drive older cars have lower fees and those who drive very expensive foreign sports cars pay very high fees.

    "let's talk about that" uid 92953

    by VClib on Sun May 18, 2014 at 08:07:21 PM PDT

  •  My car is on the road only because (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nancyjones, alypsee1, FloridaSNMOM, Lujane

    of the tax refund I receive each year.

    Usually, there is also money left over for 'play', but it's getting less and less, because the fees for keeping my car on the road are getting higher and higher.

    But once I get that refund check, I pay the year's insurance, and bank the rest for when inspection and registration is due.  And, in NY- it's now every two years.

    Growing old is inevitable...Growing up is purely optional

    by grannycarol on Sun May 18, 2014 at 08:17:58 PM PDT

    •  I lived in NY for 12 years (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cosette, JeffW, AJayne, FloridaSNMOM, Lujane

      Buffalo.  Which is kinda a conservative part of NY from what I understood while I was there.  It was a real eye opener for me.  I am a far left commie liberal in the South.  In NY, I was a conservative.

      I loved that the progressive property taxes up there made it possible for all kids to have something to do in the summer because there were PLENTY of FREE summer things for them to participate in.  I didn't really dig the tolls on roads and bridges (that hurts more the less income you have).

      If I have any spit left after I've licked my own wounds, I'll be glad to consider licking yours. Peace.

      by nancyjones on Sun May 18, 2014 at 08:28:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Jeebus. In Montana it's $40 for 8 years. (5+ / 0-)

    "Go well through life"-Me (As far as I know)
    This message will self-destruct upon arrival in the NSA archives in Utah.

    by MTmofo on Sun May 18, 2014 at 08:22:22 PM PDT

    •  wow! n/t (4+ / 0-)

      If I have any spit left after I've licked my own wounds, I'll be glad to consider licking yours. Peace.

      by nancyjones on Sun May 18, 2014 at 08:29:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That's for a driver's license. (6+ / 0-)

      To register a car in Montana car costs anywhere from $217 a year (for a car less than 5 years old) to $28 a year (for a car more than ten years old.  Where I'm at in Idaho it's between $65 and $30 a year to register depending on vehicle age and county where it's kept.

      Value-based fees are fairer than age-based fees as one should not have to pay eight times more to register a 4 year Kia than an 11 year old Lamborghini.

      BTW dmv.com is a private site designed to fool you into thinking they are a goverment agency so as tack on BS fees (and worse).  You should transact with the real deal here

      An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. -Benjamin Franklin

      by martinjedlicka on Sun May 18, 2014 at 11:53:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Do all Syates now require a birth certificate (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FloridaSNMOM, nancyjones, Lujane

        To get your
        License renewed?  
        We do in Utah even tho I was born here and had one since I was 16.
        It cost $18 for BC, and they raised the DL fee up another $10 bucks.
        Plus my car needs smog tested every year since it is an Oder car.
        They just nickel a dime us to death.
        I agree, Taxed Enough Already.

        "Americans don't understand that terrorists cannot take away habeas corpus, the Bill of Rights, or the Constitution. Terrorists are not anything like the threat that we face from our own government in the name of fighting terrorism."

        by snoopydawg on Mon May 19, 2014 at 12:25:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm trying to renew a lapsed state-issued ID but (5+ / 0-)

          can't find my original Social Security card - because naturally the state-issued ID I already have with my photo, current address and SS number is no good - they need a 54 year old piece of water-soaked cardboard with no address or picture as proof of who I am before I can get actual usable proof of who I am.

          Maybe the county still has my fingerprints on record. Surely the state would take those as proof, no?

          Fucking hell.

          This Signature Intentionally Left Blank

          by here4tehbeer on Mon May 19, 2014 at 03:08:05 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Time for the SS office march (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Lujane, nancyjones, here4tehbeer

            Have you ever observed a happy person in an SS office?  It's like where hope goes to die.

          •  It looks like you can get a replacement (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            nancyjones, here4tehbeer

            Social Security card by mail, if you are willing to mail them your original copy of identification.  Ehow has directions on how to do it.  

            I found this interesting  (bolding added by me):

            Locate your document that will prove your identity. Acceptable documents include a U.S. state-issued driver's license, U.S. state-issued identification card, or U.S. passport. According to the application for a Social Security card, "If you do not have one of the documents above or cannot get a replacement within 10 work days, we may accept other documents that show your legal name and biographical information, such as a U.S. military identity card, Certificate of Naturalization, employee identity card, certified copy of medical record (clinic, doctor or hospital), health insurance card, Medicaid card, or school identity card/record. For young children, we may accept medical records (clinic, doctor or hospital) maintained by the medical provider. We may also accept a final adoption decree, or a school identity card or other school record maintained by the school." Acceptance of any alternative documents is at the discretion of the Social Security Administration.
            They might even accept your expired state ID as identification.  If you do send an original in the mail, it's a good idea to send it certified, return receipt requested.
            •  I actually had a form at one point then got a bit (0+ / 0-)

              sidetracked... I just need to get it done this Summer and get it over with. I do have my Certificate of Birth from the hospital — all official back in '57 — so we'll see if they'll hook me up.

              Signature (this will be attached to your comments)

              by here4tehbeer on Mon May 19, 2014 at 08:14:47 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  They're headed that way. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          nancyjones

          It's part of the REAL ID Act, passed in 2005.

          BTW, the title illustrates the depths to which the BS goes in Congress:

          This Act may be cited as the ``Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief, 2005''.

          I am become Man, the destroyer of worlds

          by tle on Mon May 19, 2014 at 07:33:49 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Also in Montana if the car is old enough (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nancyjones

        you can get permanent plates. For my 2001 Mustang- 100 bucks with proof of insurance and I never have to pay for tabs again.

  •  In Kansas we pay $39 plus a property tax based (5+ / 0-)

    on the value of our car, which has a minimum of $24 so we pay at least $63 a year.

    Insurance on the car is significantly higher, even for a car that is driven even less than yours.

    •  Yep insurance fees are the OPPOSITE of progressive (6+ / 0-)

      The poorer you are, the more you pay.  One of the screens insurance companies do is a credit check.  Poor people fail miserably, whether through written off debt or the fact that they never had enough money to get a loan in the first place.  Being too poor to qualify for credit means you will be charged more for car insurance.

      If I have any spit left after I've licked my own wounds, I'll be glad to consider licking yours. Peace.

      by nancyjones on Sun May 18, 2014 at 08:44:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Where I live, it's a kind of property tax (6+ / 0-)

    registration fees are based on the cost of the car.

    You pay a % of car's value when you buy it, and in later years that fee drops because the car is worth less.

    So folks like me who when I was poor bought clunkers and drove them until they died didn't pay much.  Folks like me now who buy one car new and drive it for the next 15 years also do pretty well, after the first few years.  Folks who trade in their cars every 2 years for a newer model pay a lot more.

    Seems a lot fairer.  If you can afford a fancy car, you can afford a bigger license fee.  It breaks down a bit at the high end, as if you're the CEO of Google, you still usually drive the same car as your executive that makes a fraction of what you do, and as an up-and-coming sales dude trying to make a good impression.

    But it's better than a flat fee yes.

  •  Plus they can raise fees to increase revenue (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FloridaSNMOM, eagleray, Lujane, nancyjones

    and not be accused of raising taxes.

    It's a win-win for any governor but especially for a Republican.

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Mon May 19, 2014 at 04:02:15 AM PDT

  •  So... question here. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane, nancyjones

    I mean, it sounds like your main objection is the fee amount, not the fee mechanism.

    If they charged everyone 8% of their monthly income instead, would you be happier?

    •  My objection is to the fee mechanism (0+ / 0-)

      I don't think it's fair that I have to pay a higher percent of my income than others do for the same service.  

      I don't know if an 8% "fee" would make me happier, but I don't think it would make me any more unhappy.  The progressive nature of a percentage fee is a happy thing.  The 8% is imo excessive and therefore an unhappy thing.  Income is not necessarily an indicator of wealth, so I don't know if it's the right factor on which to base the percentage.

      The fairest way to do registrations that I can think of is to base it on some kind of combination of vehicle value, vehicle weight, and annual miles driven.

      If I have any spit left after I've licked my own wounds, I'll be glad to consider licking yours. Peace.

      by nancyjones on Mon May 19, 2014 at 07:57:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The service is tracking your vehicle and... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nancyjones

        ...issuing plates.  Much of the tax revenue for roads is based off gasoline taxes, of which you pay less of, since you said you didn't drive as much.

        Presumably, plates and paperwork for your vehicle cost the same amount of time and effort as for a Maserati.

        The fairest way to do registrations that I can think of is to base it on some kind of combination of vehicle value, vehicle weight, and annual miles driven.
        Florida registration costs are based on vehicle weight
        •  So are you saying (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          nextstep

          that my registration fees cover only labor costs and overhead associated with issuing my plates and keeping track of my vehicle?  Seems like that would be a one time expense, not something I have to pay year after year after year.

          If I have any spit left after I've licked my own wounds, I'll be glad to consider licking yours. Peace.

          by nancyjones on Mon May 19, 2014 at 09:32:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  In Finland, speeding tickets vary (0+ / 0-)

        There was some very rich guy caught speeding in Finland. I think it was 25 mph above the speed limit. The fine, based on his income was around $100,000 for one speeding ticket.

        I sort of like that idea although we'd never get it passed here.

        --

        Another factor is taxes versus fees. For example, if a state park system raises its fees for a pass to enter the park for the day or for camping overnight, that makes it more difficult for poor people to enjoy the park. The other option would be to keep the fees low, but raise taxes a bit, but then people who don't use the parks would complain about higher taxes and subsidizing people who use the parks.

        Plus, if you raise the state park fees, politicians can say "we didn't raise taxes." Even if they raised the fees.

        --

        If we adjusted fees (for registering a car and getting a plate), would we adjust other fees, too? Say, for a marriage license? Or for bus fare or for garbage collection?

        I'm not sure. I can see both sides of the question.

        "Stupid just can't keep its mouth shut." -- SweetAuntFanny's grandmother.

        by Dbug on Mon May 19, 2014 at 09:46:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Definitely an Americanism (0+ / 0-)

    In the US, the only alternative to a flat fee is to tax the vehicle as personal property, which some states do.

    In many other countries, vehicle registration costs (which are generally far higher than in the US) are tied to engine size and/or CO2 emissions.  Federal law prohibits US states from doing so.  Remember that the US is also unusual in that a large number of low income people do not have access to public transportation and need cars to get around.

  •  Making the fee vary by income would be difficult (0+ / 0-)

    to implement through a DMV office, due to the need to know and audit incomes claimed and provide personal income and expense data far beyond just the income tax authorities.

    For states with income taxes, this could be done by accounting for car fees on the tax returns.  This would also save the state administrative costs - as staff in DMV to collect these fees would no longer be needed.  This would however require people with cars who do not have income high enough to require filing a tax return to file a tax return.

    The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

    by nextstep on Mon May 19, 2014 at 09:48:14 AM PDT

  •  Of course the logical alternative (0+ / 0-)

    which is to put a GPS tracking device into vehicle to determine vehicle usage, would have a whole bunch of anti- NSA/surveillance DK "privacy" types screaming bloody murder.

    My self included . . .. .

    On the plus side, the fee you are paying is rather paltry compared to gasoline taxes, which are generally the major funding mechanism for road upkeep.

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