License tab donation rules get trickier


The in basket: With all the discussion recently of increases in the fee to renew one’s car license tab, I came to wonder about the extra $5 I’d read was an optional add-on for those willing to pay extra to provide money for state parks operations.

I didn’t recall seeing it on the reminders I’ve gotten to renew the tabs on our Prius, Mazda 3 and aging Izusu pickup in the past year and wondered if it was just a proposal.

I also wondered if a car owner would have to take some action to add the $5 or an action to avoid it.

The out basket: Brad Benfield of the state Department of Licensing says car owners have had the choice since January of last year. He said the 2009 Legislature voted to go from the “opt-in” system that has been in effect since then to the more devious (my word, not Brad’s) “opt-out” system that will require the car owner to check a box to avoid the fee.

“During the last legislative session,” he said, “a bill

was proposed to make this voluntary donation much more prominent on the (renewal) notice and to change it to an ‘opt-out’ system.

“This bill passed and we are in the process of changing this voluntary donation to the ‘opt-out’ system the new law requires,” he said.

The current notices “provide a blank line where a vehicle owner

could write in a donation to state parks and then make a payment that included all of their fees plus the donation. If a vehicle owner didn’t write in an amount and add that amount to their payment, then they didn’t make a donation. The donation amount wasn’t included with the fee total.

“When we switch over to the new ‘opt-out” system, scheduled for September 2009,” he said, “we will begin adding in the donation amount to the fee total. It will then be up to the vehicle owner to subtract it from the total they pay if they don’t want to make the donation.

“So, the donation is still voluntary, but vehicle owners will have to take action to choose not to pay it.”

3 thoughts on “License tab donation rules get trickier

  1. Better call the vie squad on that tricker! BTW, what is an Izusu? Didn’t know they imported those to the states.

  2. Private businesses have been slammed for this in the past. I think it was a cable company that would offer a free movie channel and then start charging without notification after the trial period if you didn’t cancel. If the legislature thinks they need more money, then they need to raise taxes. If they are wrong, the voters will let them know. Resorting to trickery to raise money is blatantly dishonest.

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