Governor Rick Scott's plan to lower vehicle registration fees by $ 400 million picked up steam Thursday, gaining measured support from Senate President Don Gaetz. The proposal would roll back the fees to register a typical car by just over twenty-five dollars, to the rate before a 2009 increase aimed at shoring up the state's finances in the wake of the economic recession.
The proposal is part of a larger, $500 million tax-and-fee-cut package that Scott has promised in his last legislative session before facing voters in November. Meeting with reporters Thursday, Gaetz threw his support behind some form of reduction in fees for motorists. He noted the Senate had approved a smaller proposal last year, which didn't pass in the House.
"I think what we're trying to get now is some consensus on rolling back the fee", Gaetz said. "Last year, the Senate took the initiative, but we didn't get very far, other than in our own chamber. This year, it looks like we've got two partners."
Gaetz says he doesn't regret voting for the increases in 2009. Meanwhile, former Governor Charlie Crist, who as a Republican signed the increases, offered a backhand compliment to Scott for taking on the fee issue.
Crist is now running for governor as a Democrat.
"When these fees were passed by Rick Scott’s colleagues and signed into law they were never meant to be permanent," Crist said in a statement issued by his campaign. "I'm surprised it’s taken this long for Governor Scott to realize that it’s time to roll these fees back -- better late than never."