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California RV dealers are looking for Governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger to follow through quickly on a promise to repeal a threefold increase in the annual Vehicle License Fee that went into effect on Oct. 1.
“Arnold is committed to doing away with it,” said Ernie Friesen, owner of All Seasons RV and chairman of the California Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association’s (CalRVDA) legislative committee. “Technically, they have 38 days to count the votes. Hopefully, it will be done much quicker than that. I anticipate by the end of October, the fee increase will be gone.”
The license fee hike became a major issue leading up to the recall of Gov. Gray Davis in voting on Tuesday (Oct. 7), and the election of Schwarzenegger from a field of 135 candidates.
The fee hike was expected to raise $4 billion annually, but, according to Friesen, license plates for an RV bought for $24,000 now cost $513, compared with $156 prior to the enactment of the fee increase.
However, CalRVDA Executive Director Skip Daum said it might not be as easy to repeal the increase as Schwarzenegger thinks. Davis signed an executive order increasing the license fee to avoid triggering a law that would have done the same thing.
“We hope Arnold can repeal it,” Daum said. “But there was a law that made it need to be this way. If Arnold repeals the executive order, it could fall back to the law.”
Increasing the state vehicle license fee was intended to help close Califronia’s budget shortfall, which ballooned to $38 billion for the current budget year.
The California license fee now is as high as it was in 1999, when it was trimmed by two thirds by the Legislature.