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Lackey introduces new bill to assist with registration fees

In an effort to help motorists who are unable to keep up with rising vehicle registration fees, Assemblyman Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale, introduced a bill that would allow individuals the opportunity to pay for their vehicle registration fee in monthly installments.

Lackey said in a news release Wednesday that he hopes Assembly Bill 461 will help working-class individuals afford the “skyrocketing fees” required when registering a vehicle.

“As the cost to own and operate a vehicle in California continues to rise, it hurts working-class families the most,” Lackey said. “In his State of the State address, Gov. (Gavin) Newsom underscored the necessity of affordable transportation for the working class who are the backbone of our state’s economy. This bill goes to work for those people.”

In California, the average vehicle registration fee is $246 and owners are required to pay the fee in full by its midnight deadline. After only one month of deferred payments, a motorist faces up to $100 in fines, and those fines will continue to rise until the payment is made, Lackey said, mentioning that the system disproportionately affects those who are economically challenged.

The Franchise Tax Board estimates that of the nearly 33 million vehicle registration renewal notices issued every year, about 3.73 million vehicle registration accounts will become delinquent, according to the news release. When those registrations lose accreditation, the tax board initiates automatic bank transfers from the debtor’s account and will take an individual’s wages until the debts are fully repaid.

“If a person can’t afford to pay their car registration on time, the state should not be taking people’s cars to compel payment. This response is disproportionate and, worse, doesn’t get the DMV fees paid anyway,” Mike Herald, director of policy advocacy at the Western Center on Law and Poverty, said in the release. “The state needs to find a way to help poor people afford to pay their registration as proposed in AB 461.”

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