On April 2, 2014, Governor Rick Scott, Senate President Don Gaetz, Speaker of the House Will Weatherford and a number of other Florida Legislatures met together for the signing of Senate Bill 156. What is Senate Bill 156? In short, tax relief…though not a lot, but it is still a reduction. Senate Bill 156 will reduce the cost of vehicle registration fees. Back in 2009, under former Governor Charlie Crist, vehicle registration fees were increased, but this bill will reduce the cost back to pre-2009 levels.
So, just how big is this reduction? $400 MILLION! Wow, 400 million…that sounds like a lot, right? Unfortunately, it only really comes out to about a $25 annual savings per motor vehicle. However, any reduction is better than no reduction. Even though the bill has been signed into law, there is usually a delay between when a bill is signed and when it goes into effect. Luckily, unlike some bills, this one goes into effect relatively quickly: September 1st of this year. While it’s still months away, some bills do not go into effect for over year, if not more.
Cognizant of this delay, Governor Scott has sent out a letter to Florida tax collectors encouraging any Floridians that have to get their registration renewed before this bill goes into effect to only get it renewed for one year. Many people get their registration for years in advance, but to do so before September 1st would end up costing them more money. Therefore, even if they have to pay a higher charge this year, at least they will be able to save money in the years to come. In his letter, Governor Scott stated “this legislation is a major part of my It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget. I commend the Florida Legislature for acting quickly on this fee reduction and for unanimously passing the legislation.”
Pasco County’s own, Will Weatherford, had this to say about signing Senate Bill 156: “The Florida house was proud to make lowering fees for Florida drivers a priority this session. Governor Scott has been a leader on keeping taxes low for Florida’s families and I thank him for signing one of our top priorities into law today.
Granted, like everything with politics, there are some that see this bill signing as less “about the people” and more about pure politics. Some are calling the event a mere pep rally for Governor Scott, while others are seeing it as a smear campaign against former Governor Crist. When asked about the bill, Crist said, “When these fees were passed by Rick Scott’s colleagues and signed into law they were never meant to be permanent. I’m surprised it’s taken this long for Governor Scott to realize that it’s time to roll these fees back – better late than never.” Even though the vehicle registration fees were increased while Crist was governor, it is his contention that the Republicans (even though he was one at the time) were primarily responsible for the tax hike, and it was never meant to last this long. It was only supposed to be a temporary measure.
As of now, that’s all the facts and politics we have surrounding the signing of Senate Bill 156. If all goes well, we should all be enjoying lower registration fees come September 1, 2014. However, if anything changes, we will keep you updated. Thanks for reading our latest post, and if you ever need an attorney, don’t hesitate to contact us.