Ocean Springs resident says hybrid tax fee is unfair
OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (WLOX) - Imagine you buy a vehicle that emits no emissions and uses no fossil fuels. You’re doing a good thing for the environment. However, in doing so, you’re going to pay more to the state of Mississippi for the privilege of hitting the road, thanks to a special tax passed two years ago by the legislature. That’s the position one Ocean Springs man finds himself in now.
Carl King knew this day was coming because of a letter he received last year explaining the extra charge for hybrid and electric vehicles, but then the bill for $150 came in the mail.
“I was shocked beyond belief. $150 for a vehicle that I don’t even drive 150 miles a year," he said. "Pretty expensive operation, I would say.”
Since the vehicle is called a Global Electric Motorcar, that’s the reason for the higher bill. The charge is to make up for lost gas tax revenue for vehicles that use less gas. Still, King finds the charge ironic.
“The federal government encourages us to buy them, but now the state government decides they need to tax us extra with the license plates in order to make up for the extra fees they are trying to raise for roads and bridges," he said.
King took action though, much faster than the 25 mile per hour limit on his glorified golf cart.
“I decided to send a letter to everyone, from the governor to the lieutenant governor to senators that I know and others in hopes that the legislature this last year might re-look at that bill," he said.
State Rep. Charles Busby sees the problem. Other legislators said the law may need to be tweaked.
“Cars that have top end speeds of 25 miles per hour that are used locally are not the intent of this legislation. It is not the intent of legislation to put that fee on golf carts or vehicles such as that,” Busby explained.
Now King said he does have some recourse if he does not find legislative relief from that $150 fee. King could simply take the tag off, but then the state loses, according to King.
“They will lose the benefit of my total tax bill. I think we decided it was about $80 of revenue that they would lose as a result, and I could still operate it anywhere as a golf cart," he said.
King prefers to pay his fair share but not $150 worth of fair.
King also owns two other gas-powered vehicles on which he also pay taxes but no extra hybrid charge.
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