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Scott to call for rolling back motorist fees OK’d by Crist

by John Kennedy | December 11th, 2013

Gov. Rick Scott is expected Thursday to call for lawmakers to slash $401 million in motorist fees, rolling back a major 2009 increase approved on the watch of his predecessor and now Democratic rival, Charlie Crist.

Sources briefed on the matter told The Palm Beach Post the action would save most motorists about $25 annually. Scott earlier pledged to cut $500 million in taxes and fees during next election year – but the size of Thursday’s proposal suggests the governor could be looking to top that figure.

The motorist fees Scott plans to target in an afternoon announcement in Tampa include driver’s license, registration and tag surcharges, along with increases that were tacked onto duplicates and validation stickers.

All of those fees spiked in 2009 when during the recession, lawmakers looked to close budget gaps by approving a $2.2 billion package of tax and fee increases, including the last boost in the state’s cigarette tax.

Crist, now frontrunner for the Democratic nomination for governor, signed the increases into law as the state’s Republican chief executive. Along with proving an eye-catching campaign move, Scott’s focus on the fees lets him draw a sharper contrast with his opponent.

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