Lt. Governor wants to keep car tag costs down - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Lt. Governor wants to keep car tag costs down

By Jon Kalahar - bio | email

JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - The price of your car tag doubling hinges on lawmakers reaching a resolution on the price of a cigarette tax increase.

A cigarette tax would raise millions of dollars for the state. And an agreement must then be signed into law by the governor. However, all of that happening is still up in the air.

"We're here about trying to let people know the reality," Lieutenant Governor Phil Bryant said.

Other Republican leaders say the reality is state car tags could go up by hundreds of dollars unless both cambers of the legislature agree on a cigarette tax hike that the governor is willing to sign into law. 

"It is the conservative coalition's plea to the house leadership that they move to a solution that will make it's way through the entire legislative process," Representative Brian Aldridge of Tupelo said.

A bigger issue could be gaining the governor's approval. Both their offers are well above his suggestion of a 60 cents cigarette tax increase.

"I am encouraging them to reach common ground so that this solution must be reached sooner rather than later," Bryant said.

Lieutenant Governor Bryant is also calling on the house to join with him in creating a joint legislative committee to investigate why car tags are so expensive in the first place.

"It should not offend anyone across the state of Mississippi for us to form a select committee to determine if there is better practices, if there is a better way of doing this," Bryant said.

House Speaker Billy McCoy believes the house is making strides towards an agreement.

"Our negotiators are showing their willingness to compromise by coming down 25 cents from the dollar a pack that originally passed the house. We have considered the car tag dilemma and Medicaid, both of which are important problems we're ready to resolve," McCoy said.

Negotiations are scheduled to resume Tuesday.

The Lieutenant Governor's office has created a website, cartagrelief.com, where you can find out how much your car tag will increase, should an agreement not be reached. But as of Monday, the website was using wrong numbers.

Bryant's staff said they were correcting the site after their math errors were pointed out by The Associated Press. Bryant's site showed that the tag for a $20,000 vehicle would increase by different amounts in different counties starting July 1. However, the state Tax Commission says the amount of the scheduled increase does not vary by county. It varies only by the value and age of the vehicle.

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