Scott: Raising Department of Motor Vehicle fees 20% is ‘regressive’, ‘not needed’

By Brent Addleman | The Center Square

Debate over raising Department of Motor Vehicle fees is brewing in Vermont.

With House Bill 479 sitting with the Senate Committee on Transportation, Republican Gov. Phil Scott and Joe Flynn, who serves as secretary of the Transportation Department, denounced the bill’s efforts to raise Department of Motor Vehicle fees by 20%.

The bill passed out of the House of Representatives on March 30 with a 100-39 vote, surpassing the 70 votes needed to advance the bill.

Gov. Phil Scott Facebook

Gov. Phil Scott

According to the fiscal note affixed to the bill, adjusting “most fees” by the Department of Motor Vehicles reflects “inflationary growth.” The last time fees were adjusted was July 1, 2016.

The adjustment calls for a 19.8% increase, according to the note, which reflects commensurate growth to the price index, and would net the department $20.5 million in additional revenue to the Transportation Fund.

Scott called the fees “regressive” and “not needed,” saying Vermont is sitting on “a historic amount of funding.”

“When I became governor, I told Vermonters that raising taxes and fees would be our last resort,” the governor said during his weekly press conference Friday morning. “Because across the state, they told me repeatedly. They weren’t sure they could afford to live here anymore, and it’s no secret that Vermont has one of the highest tax burdens in the nation. So, we’ve held the line against raising taxes and fees ever since without cuts to programs.

“In fact, quite the opposite. We’ve actually seen organic revenue growth, which we’ve used to fund new initiatives, and couple that with a historic amount of funding, Vermont is in better financial shape than I can ever remember.”

Scott said raising fees on Vermonters would be “unfair” in the face of inflating prices for food, fuel and rent.

The Republican governor said the fees would affect driver’s licenses, permit renewals, and car, truck and trailer registrations. He also pointed to the fact that during testimony when hearing the bill in the House, the Department of Motor Vehicles said, “they don’t need the money.”

Flynn said that under Scott the department has delivered “seven consecutive transportation budgets without once increasing DMV fees.” He went on to say that two of those budgets “are of record size.”

“Also included in this year’s budget, as you heard, is a request to the Legislature to set aside $80 million from the general fund tax surplus to secure Vermont’s monetary share for construction projects and maintenance across fiscal years 2024, 2025 and 2026,” Flynn said. “The House budget, though, is suggesting to increase the DMV fees, resulting in Vermonters paying 20% more and collecting another $20 million across the board.”

Rep. Charles “Butch” Shaw, R-Rutland, said the bill originally did not have the $20 million in fees attached to the bill when it left the House committee. The fees were later attached, he said, by the House Ways and Means Committee. He said with the fees attached, he did not vote for the bill’s passage.

“Well, I think raising the fees for people that use DMV services is just not right,” said Shaw, vice chairman of the House committee. “That is a big chunk for foils to swallow, especially for folks that are living paycheck-to-paycheck.”

Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Erum Patel and Gov. Phil Scott Facebook

8 thoughts on “Scott: Raising Department of Motor Vehicle fees 20% is ‘regressive’, ‘not needed’

  1. Of course it’s regressive that’s what progressive commies are all about. How will they be able to give more money to the rich to buy more EV’s without the increase? Looking to increase cost on Vermonters when the increase is not needed shows how out of touch these leftist idiots are with the taxpayers plight. They should be flogged unmercifully along with the bigger idiots who keep voting them in.

  2. “Fees” suggest a service charge for which one would expect a service to be provided, and if that service already exists the fee should go up when the cost of providing the service increases. That “the original bill originally did not have the $20 million in fees attached to it when it left the House committee” would also strongly suggest it has nothing to do with the cost of providing services. It is a pure money grab to fund all the other unnecessary stuff (these “fees” were added by the Ways and Means Committee aka tax creators), and wake up most of the politicians, don’t care one iota about any of us. They care about their own whacko out of touch agendas and getting re-elected.

  3. Looks like ‘Woke” is getting “Wakee”….realizing now that they need money and there isn’t any….well, “free” money anway (they love & demand free stuff). So they scour every possible corner to see where they can raise taxes….and DMV fee’s are the absolute worst place to start (hits the POOR and lower incomes most). But the fact that Libs choose the DMV (to tax more) is great news. It signals how “desperate” they are and how “ignorant” they are.. at the same time 🙂 One solution? How come electric cars always get a free ride, they pay no taxes, ever, for roads etc…no fee’s…matter of fact ALL EV’s are TAX SUBSIDIZED…up to a $7,500 tax CREDIT (not “deduction”) from the Gov’t.

    Inmates run the whole asylum…. in DC and VT.

    • NY years ago broke the code with “fees” in lieu of taxes so they could claim to be anti tax increases. They also instituted Gross Revenue Utility taxes and utilities passed them along to the people. There is nothing new in the political slight of hands from the very party who claims to be for the little guys. I call BS.

  4. No worries, the US Treasury and the Fed are adding more zeroes and fake digits to continue the illusion the USA and it’s citizens are solvent. The Vermont Legislature is just doing the same. A million here or a billion there, makes absolutely no difference to them. The bundling and shuffling of bonds made up of nothing more than USA debts are held in banks and foreign governments like ticking time bombs. Our currency is deemed toxic on the world trade market. Our GDP is in negative territory. Foreign governments are making trading deals using any currency but the US dollar. Foreign countries and banks are buying up every piece of gold or silver available. The lies and deception is about to blow up bigly in many households and the reality will be devastating for those not paying attention.

  5. For gasoline/diesel, the fee should be based on EPA combined miles/gallon; the lower the mileage, the higher the fees

    For EVs, the fee should be based on EPA combined kWh/mile, the lower the number the lower the fee

    Two birds with one stone: raise revenue, and reduce fleet energy consumption

    The other fee should be scrapped, because it is based on BS

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