With prices rising for gas, and seemingly everything else we buy, comes the news that motor vehicle fees in the Mountain and Buckeye states could be increasing soon.
A proposal to increase the cost of an Ohio vehicle title from $15 to $25 is one part of Gov. John Kasich's transportation budget. State officials say that's still below the $32 average they found in a survey of 27 other states.
The change would result in $31.5 million in annual funding being handed over to the State Highway Patrol.
State Rep. Andy Thompson, R-Marietta, said he "respects" the highway patrol, but is opposed to the fee increase.
"I would rather find ways we can continue to cut expenses," he said. "Tweaking fees here and there, especially if it's a burden on people, I'm not in favor of that."
Little Hocking resident Ross Morris, 21, doesn't like the idea, either.
At a glance
Proposed changes for motor vehicle fees:
Ohio: A vehicle title is currently $15 and would be increased to $25. A $20 late fee for driver license renewals would be eliminated.
West Virginia: The cost of registering a passenger vehicle is now $28.50 and would be increased by $10 or $30, depending on its weight. Vehicle title fees would rise from $5 to $21.
Source: The Associated Press.
"They've already raised our taxes and everything else and even getting a temporary tag is more than it used to be," he said. "They're trying to get money out of us any way they can."
Mike Berentz, 38, of New Matamoras, said he's not surprised that the governor's administration wants to hike the fee.
"It's typical - everything is going to the ceiling," he said.
Also being considered as part of the governor's transportation budget is a proposal to eliminate a $20 late fee for driver license renewals.
According to the Ohio Department of Public Safety website, www.bmv.ohio.gov, a late fee of $20 is assessed to all driver license and vehicle registration renewal transactions if renewed more than seven days beyond the expiration date.
Sen. Jimmy Stewart, R-Athens said he "very much" supports eliminating the late fee.
"I've had a lot of constituents who are opposed to it and who are upset about it," he said. "I'm certainly open to getting rid of it."
Stewart noted that he has "misgivings" about hiking the vehicle title fee, but would like to hear what his constituents think about it.
State Rep. Debbie Phillips, D-Athens is opposed to the fee increase.
"I think in the current economy, we have to balance our budget within our means like other people in our communities have to," she said.
Phillips noted that she's currently working on an amendment that would eliminate the late fee applied to vehicle registration renewals for farm vehicles and seasonal vehicles because it "doesn't make sense" for a person to be charged such a fee for a vehicle they're likely not using all the time.
Drivers in the Mountain State could also be digging deeper in their pockets to pay for motor vehicle fees, after the state Senate approved $39.5 million worth of fee increases.
The measure passed to the House 26-7 Wednesday aims to improve revenues for the long-struggling State Road Fund.
The measure would increase about two dozen Division of Motor Vehicle fees. The cost of a regular driver's licenses would rise from $2.50 to $6.50 for each year of the license. Motorists would pay additional fees to retake the written or road skills exam.
Vehicle title fees would more than quadruple, from $5 to $21. Registering a passenger vehicle would cost $10 or $30 more depending on its weight. License plate and registration transfer fees also would rise.
The Associated Press contributed.