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Car registration fight delays renewal notices

April 29, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
If you're used to renewing your car registration in July, or even August, you might not have to pay it. At least not until a state budget is approved.

Californians began temporarily paying a higher vehicle license fee (VLF) back in 2009. It's set to go back down to the lower rate on June 30.

But Democrats are fast-tracking a bill that stops the DMV from sending out car registration renewal notices. That buys them time to negotiate a state budget that keeps the higher rate intact.

"You don't want to have notices going out saying that the VLF is going down and then a notice going out two weeks later saying it's going back up. We want people to have consistency," said state Assm. Bob Blumenfield (D-Los Angeles), the Assembly Budget Committee chairman.

Renewal notices normally go out two months before the registration due date, which means July's should go out next week. But the DMV is waiting to see if the delay gets approved Monday.

The current VLF rate is just over 1 percent of the value of the car and is supposed to drop by almost by half. The money is earmarked for law enforcement.

"Five-hundred-million dollars of public safety dollars. Without that money, communities will be devastated," said Blumenfield.

You can't even try to be smart by walking into a DMV office to pay your car registration in person. Workers will not accept payments for due dates beyond June.

Some car owners are upset over the stalling tactic.

"It should be mailed out when it should be mailed out. Don't withhold anything," said Susan Eversoll.

"Over the years, I've already been participating in them hiking the registration up, and I'm ready for them to go down," said Rickey Campbell.

If approved, car owners get an extra month after their registration lapses to pay their fees and the state would notify law enforcement not to ticket the 5 million Californians with July or August stickers, depending how long the budget stalemate goes.

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