Document:California Press Release 14 May 1998 Car Tax Needs to be Scrapped

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Office of the Executive Director
11966 Moorpark St., #1
Studio City, CA 91604-1720
For immediate release: May 14, 1998
For additional information:
Juan Ros, Executive Director
Phone: (818) 980-8833

Car tax needs to be scrapped, says Libertarian Party of California

LOS ANGELES - The Libertarian Party of California, joining a growing chorus of supporters, has officially endorsed AB 1776, a bill that would repeal California's car tax, State Chair Mark Hinkle announced today.

The bill by Assemblyman Tom McClintock (R-Northridge) would completely phase out the state's punishing car tax - formally known as the Vehicle License Fee - by 2003.

"Libertarians have always led the fight against excessive taxation," declared Hinkle. "Getting rid of the car tax sends a clear message to lawmakers: car owners are being driven crazy by taxes and aren't going to take it anymore."

California drivers pay an average of $185 per vehicle annually in Vehicle License Fees, amounting to nearly $4 billion a year.

"The Vehicle License Fee is nothing but a property tax on your car," said Hinkle. "It's time to put the brakes on this tax once and for all."

The car tax was established in 1935 to pay for highways and related services. Today, revenues from the Vehicle License Fee are spent almost entirely by local governments on health and social services programs.

"Taxing cars to pay for health and welfare programs makes as much sense as driving a convertible in the rain with the top down," noted Hinkle.

The Assembly Committee on Revenue and Taxation had scheduled to hear the bill last Monday, May 11, but Assembly Democrats who oppose the bill pulled it from the schedule at the last minute.

Yesterday, Governor Pete Wilson proposed slashing the car tax 75% by 2002 as part of his revised budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

"That just doesn't go far enough," said Hinkle.

Repealing car taxes has become a popular issue around the country. Virginia Governor James Gilmore made repealing that state's car tax the centerpiece of his campaign. Georgia and South Carolina are also weighing proposals to abolish their car taxes.

"Car owners across the country agree: the car tax needs to be ended, now," demanded Hinkle. "The Libertarian Party of California urges lawmakers to put the pedal to the metal and pass AB 1776. As long as Californians continue paying the Vehicle License Fee, they will continue feeling like victims of a political hit and run."