Bill to simplify vehicle registrations signed into law

WASILLA — Gov. Sean Parnell signed legislation June 20 aimed at simplifying vehicle registration for Alaskans with older cars.

House Bill 19 gives individuals the option to permanently register their personal vehicles that are at least eight years old. It also gives personal trailer owners the option to permanently register their trailers.

Stoltze, R-Chugiak, the bill’s sponsor, said HB 19 would encourage compliance with state vehicle registration laws.

“This is just a simple government bill that makes it easier — less trips to the DMV,” Stoltze said. “It was an expression of, OK, after so many years you’ve paid enough in taxes on the vehicle and it was a value judgment.”

When HB 19 takes effect Jan. 1 2015, Alaskans with qualifying vehicles can choose to pay the $100 biennial state registration fee plus a $25 permanent registration fee, which will cover registration for as long as the vehicle remains under the same ownership. The permanent registration is non-transferable.

Similarly, trailer owners can pay the $30 fee plus a $25 permanent surcharge to register their trailers for as long as they own them.

As a compromise with local governments that draw revenue from motor vehicle registration taxes, Stoltze said boroughs and municipalities can choose to opt in to the plan. The state’s tiered tax plan calls for most personal vehicles owners that qualify for permanent registration to be levied a one-time $16 tax. Those that don’t opt in can continue with current vehicle tax systems.

Many local governments across the state, such as the Municipality of Anchorage, tax such vehicles at a higher rate. In Anchorage and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough a qualifying vehicle owner is taxed $70 for every registration.

The Fairbanks North Star Borough and the City of Fairbanks do not tax vehicle registration.

HB 19 also provides registration fee exemptions for those who are disabled or least 65 years of age on one vehicle.

“(HB 19) is what good government is about,” Parnell remarked before making it law. “It’s about removing barriers and just getting out of your way so you don’t have to worry about paperwork. That’s one of the reasons we’re here to serve you.”

 

Elwood Brehmer can be reached at elwood.brehmer@alaskajournal.com.

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