Legislature(2003 - 2004)

03/11/2003 02:13 PM TRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
             SB 103-MOTOR VEHICLE REGISTRATION FEES                                                                         
CHAIR COWDERY announced  the committee would take up  SB 103, but                                                               
he did not  plan to pass the bill out  of committee today because                                                               
several  people   wanted  to  testify   on  the  bill   and  were                                                               
unavailable today. He asked Mr. Jardell to present the bill.                                                                    
MR. KEVIN  JARDELL, Assistant Commissioner  of the  Department of                                                               
Administration  (DOA),  explained  that  SB  103  establishes  an                                                               
increase in  vehicle registration fees.  DOA believes it  is time                                                               
to re-evaluate  and update user  fees. He said Mr.  Duane Bannock                                                               
was available to testify via teleconference.                                                                                    
MR. DUANE  BANNOCK, Director  of the  Division of  Motor Vehicles                                                               
(DMV),  DOA,  told  members  SB  103 would  update  some  of  the                                                               
standards  on the  books since  1970. Since  that time,  only two                                                               
small increases  in registration fees  have occurred. He  and the                                                               
deputy director researched  the fees in all 49  states to compare                                                               
them   with  Alaska's   fees.  While   some  states   have  lower                                                               
registration  fees, it  was  difficult to  track  down the  total                                                               
amount  of  fees those  states  collect  through other  types  of                                                               
taxes.  Clearly, the  fees  in SB  103 are  still  less than  the                                                               
nationwide standard.                                                                                                            
CHAIR  COWDERY  asked Mr.  Bannock  to  address the  increase  in                                                               
registration fees for the semi-trailers and "big rigs."                                                                         
MR. BANNOCK  said Section 4 on  page 3 is specific  to commercial                                                               
trailers. Typically  that would be  a container type  of trailer,                                                               
but  specifically it  is  any trailer,  whether  a small  flatbed                                                               
trailer registered  commercially or a 40-foot  container. He said                                                               
several  years   ago  all   50  states   did  away   with  annual                                                               
registration of  commercial trailers  and established  a one-time                                                               
permanent registration. SB 103 calls  for a one-time fee, but the                                                               
fee will be $20 instead of  $10. Currently, about 10,000 of these                                                               
trailers  are  on  the  ground.  DMV  projects  about  1,000  new                                                               
trailers will  be registered  in Alaska [next  year] and  pay the                                                               
$20 one-time fee.                                                                                                               
CHAIR  COWDERY asked  if  the fee  has anything  to  do with  the                                                               
licensing of those trailers.                                                                                                    
MR.  BANNOCK  said  for all  practical  purposes,  licensing  and                                                               
registering  mean the  same  thing. Therefore,  a  person with  a                                                               
commercial  trailer will  get license  plates  with the  one-time                                                               
payment.  Those plates  will not  have to  be renewed  year after                                                               
CHAIR  COWDERY  asked  if  the Legislature  amended  the  law  to                                                               
increase the  tractor fees but  lowered the trailer fees  four or                                                               
five years ago.                                                                                                                 
MR. BANNOCK  said the  last major  change took  place in  1998 at                                                               
which time  legislation was enacted that  eliminated $1.6 million                                                               
worth of  commercial trailer registration  fees and  charged that                                                               
amount equally amongst all registered commercial vehicles.                                                                      
CHAIR COWDERY  asked Mr. Bannock  how DMV  approaches registering                                                               
vehicles with foreign licenses.                                                                                                 
MR. BANNOCK  said a trip  permit fee  for the tractor  portion of                                                               
the truck is charged but that is not addressed in SB 103.                                                                       
SENATOR OLSON  said it  is his  understanding that  vehicles used                                                               
for commercial  purposes are considered to  be revenue generating                                                               
and  are  charged more.  He  asked  why commercial  trailers  are                                                               
charged  a $20  registration fee  in Section  4 while  in Section                                                               
1(b)(6), the fee is higher for  "a trailer not used or maintained                                                               
for the  transportation of  persons or property  for hire  or for                                                               
other commercial use, including...a boat trailer."                                                                              
MR. BANNOCK  said the  boat trailer  registration that  will cost                                                               
$30 every  two years is  most likely  attached to a  pickup truck                                                               
that  right  now costs  $78  to  register  every two  years.  The                                                               
container trailer is  a one-time $10 fee.  That container trailer                                                               
is attached  to a semi-tractor  that pays $300 to  register every                                                               
year. He  explained that  when the  state stopped  collecting the                                                               
$1.6 million on  commercial trailers, those fees  were shifted to                                                               
all vehicles registered  commercially. The state had  no net loss                                                               
in revenue.                                                                                                                     
MR.  JARDELL told  members  that  policy was  set  by an  earlier                                                               
legislature. DOA  has not addressed  that policy, but is  open to                                                               
input  from   committee  members.  He   said  SB  103   does  not                                                               
restructure the fees.                                                                                                           
CHAIR COWDERY pointed  out that SB 103 would  impact an Anchorage                                                               
company,  K&W, by  charging  an additional  $20,000  per year  to                                                               
register K&W's trailers.  He said a lot of the  trailers travel a                                                               
very short  distance. He then  asked if a  non-commercial trailer                                                               
owner could register a trailer for up to five years at one time.                                                                
MR. BANNOCK said the registration  for non-commercial vehicles is                                                               
SENATOR WAGONER asked  Mr. Bannock if he compared the  fees in SB
103  to the  fees in  other  northwestern states.  He noted  that                                                               
Washington State  used to  base registration  fees on  value, but                                                               
now uses a set fee.                                                                                                             
MR.  BANNOCK repeated  that  he looked  at the  fees  for all  49                                                               
states. The  State of  Oregon is the  least expensive  state; its                                                               
automobile  registration fee  is $15  per year.  He said  fees to                                                               
register a  two-year old  gasoline powered  car with  an original                                                               
retail  price of  $25,000 and  a  current value  of $15,000  were                                                               
compared and they range from $15 to $412.                                                                                       
CHAIR  COWDERY asked  about  the fee  for  privately owned  motor                                                               
MR.  BANNOCK said  a motor  home  is currently  categorized as  a                                                               
personal, non-commercial  passenger automobile.  SB 103  does not                                                               
change that category. The fee  is $68 for a two-year registration                                                               
for any class of  motor home, the same as the  fee for a personal                                                               
SENATOR OLSON asked  if DMV has discussed the  licensing of four-                                                               
MR. BANNOCK said  not in association with SB 103.  He pointed out                                                               
that  DMV is  responsible  for collecting  registration fees  for                                                               
snow  machines and  motorcycles.  However,  all terrain  vehicles                                                               
(ATVs) have not been addressed.                                                                                                 
SENATOR OLSON  clarified that he  wants to know  whether trailers                                                               
hauled by ATVs have to be  registered, especially if they have to                                                               
travel on  an improvised trail.  He said he received  phone calls                                                               
from constituents who want to  know whether they will be required                                                               
to license an ATV trailer or  a sled being hauled by a registered                                                               
snow machine.                                                                                                                   
MR. BANNOCK said  DMV has no interest in  licensing trailers that                                                               
are being hauled behind ATVs or snow machines.                                                                                  
CHAIR  COWDERY repeated  that  he  planned to  hold  the bill  in                                                               
committee to hear more public testimony.                                                                                        

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