The State Senate approved legislation Tuesday slashing annual license plate fees, an action that will result in $53 million in savings for Oklahoma motorists by the year 2009. It will also give Oklahoma some of the lowest tag and excise fees in the region, lower than Texas, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Colorado.
HB 1734 now goes to the Governor for his signature.
"We have a chance to fix a car tag system that's been broken for years and deliver millions of dollars in savings to Oklahoma motorists in the process. I'd hate to see us miss that opportunity," said Senator Jim Maddox, author of HB 1734.
Under the provisions of HB 1734, tag fees will be a flat annual rate ranging from $15 to $85, depending on the age of the vehicle. Currently, tag renewals can cost several hundred dollars each year.
"Instead of dipping into their life savings just to buy a license plate, Oklahomans will be able to get a tag at an affordable price. This is going to put hundreds of dollars back into the pockets of motorists who are being gouged under our current system," said Senator Maddox.
In order to lessen the impact of the car tag cut on services like education and road construction, HB 1734 authorizes a slight increase in the vehicle excise tax, but stipulates that it only apply to the actual sales price minus any trade in value, rather than the current practice of taxing the sticker price.
Although HB 1734 is revenue neutral its first year, new statistics from the Oklahoma Tax Commission indicate the legislation will eventually amount to a major reduction of taxes and fees for Oklahoma motorists.
Although both houses have approved the legislation, Governor Keating has indicated he won¹t sign HB 1734 unless he is convinced it is a tax cut.
"There's no question that this is a significant tax cut for Oklahoma motorists. I think it's something Governor Keating can support," said Senator Maddox.