Leg­is­la­tor aims to re­peal new car-reg­is­tra­tion fee

The Arizona Republic - - Valley & state - Ryan Ran­dazzo (Please print) (First) (Last)

The first bill in­tro­duced in the Ari­zona Leg­is­la­ture for next year’s ses­sion is an ef­fort to re­peal a new $32 ve­hi­cle-reg­is­tra­tion fee that has gen­er­ated con­tro­versy since it was an­nounced last month.

Scotts­dale law­maker Michelle Ugenti-Rita, who pro­posed Se­nate Bill 1001 on Fri­day, said the state should get rid of the fee be­cause its amount isn’t sub­ject to a pub­lic process.

The Leg­is­la­ture passed a bill in April giv­ing the direc­tor of the Ari­zona Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion the au­thor­ity to set the fee. Of­fi­cials es­ti­mated at that time that it would be $18 start­ing in 2019 and would gen­er­ate about $149 mil­lion.

It was needed, they said, be­cause for years law­mak­ers took money col­lected for road re­pairs and in­stead used it to fund the high­way pa­trol. To do­nate, text to

Rep. Noel Camp­bell, R-Prescott, spon­sored the bill for the fee be­cause he wanted a per­ma­nent fund­ing source for the high­way pa­trol.

Camp­bell said he has got­ten an ear­ful from peo­ple af­ter ADOT an­nounced the fee would be nearly dou­ble what was ex­pected, rais­ing about $265.6 mil­lion. Ugenti-Rita, also a Repub­li­can, said she has heard sim­i­lar things. “This is a bill I op­posed,” she said. “I’m fil­ing this on be­half of my con­stituents. I heard from them. They for­warded the email from ADOT. They were out­raged.”

The fee is higher than orig­i­nally an­tic­i­pated be­cause ADOT said it also would fund main­te­nance and con­struc­tion of state high­ways.

“They were able to un­der­mine the process and pass a mas­sive tax in­crease on the pub­lic with­out any kind of pub­lic in­volve­ment,” Ugenti-Rita said of the fee. “We have al­lowed a bu­reau­crat to now set a tax.” We’ll match your gift 50 cents on the dol­lar until do­na­tions reach $600,000. or go to

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