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Ohio License plate fees

As the State goes broke and is looking for ways to raise revenue (without raising taxes) look to new fees, penalties and other scams to reach into your pocket. We already saw dog licenses go up (still no need to license cats- which I don’t understand [1]). Greg got hit with the new late fee for license plate renewal- which was put in place to replace gas tax revenue that funds the State Highway Patrol.:

Ohio drivers have been stung by more than 300,000 fines for missing deadlines to renew their driver’s licenses and vehicle registrations since the $20 penalties went into effect in October.

About one in six drivers renewing licenses and one in 10 renewing registrations were hit with the fine in October, November and December, according to statistics released yesterday by the state Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

The fines, which were slipped into the state transportation budget last spring, have yielded more than $6.4 million in new revenue for the State Highway Patrol….

Since Oct. 1, drivers more than seven days late on a renewal have been assessed a $20 fee. The penalty was part of a series of new and higher fees that lawmakers stuffed into the two-year, $9.6 billion transportation budget, largely to replace gas-tax revenue that previously had been a major funding source for the patrol.

Lawmakers also increased the fees for vanity license plates, temporary tags and vision screenings.

via Driver’s license late fees piling up | Columbus Dispatch Politics [2].

I take a rather unpopular position that Ohio should inspect vehicles and require them to meet basic safety requirements- like bumpers, windshields, lights- you know – the basics.

It’s still a lot cheaper to register your car in Ohio than in Kentucky- which charges a property tax on cars [3].

Of course, the gas tax was unpopular when gas prices went up- and people were cringing all over the state every time they went to the pump. This is the part about sprawl that Ohioans don’t understand- roads cost money- and so do the police to patrol them. The money has to come from somewhere- and this is why all you “Fair” taxers should love the gas tax- since it’s a consumption tax. The problem rolls in that it becomes a value added tax since so much of our other merchandise is shipped by truck.

Here is Greg and I in a 5 minute discussion about the matter (and yes- we’re trying to make these video bits shorter).


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David, you are confused.  Greg wins this debate.

ANY police officer is allowed to run your license plates (public record) through the LEADS system (for law enforcement use only) which ties directly into the OBMV, and make a traffic stop based upon information contained therein.  It is a routine fact that occurs daily.  Thousands of tags are run weekly for no reason other than they’re there in plain view and a cop is either behind or beside you.  (If they’re quick enough and their eyes are very good, even in front of you, both directions.)  What the officers can’t do is share that information with non-law enforcement personnel or run it for their own personal use.

Your tags are a wealth of information that will tell them whether the registered owner is wanted, has a valid/current driver’s license, has a restraining order against/for them, is/has been on  probation/parole, is a registered sex offender, has a CCW permit, if the vehicle is stolen,  AND IF THE TAGS ARE EXPIRED!   A whole lot more but that’s their secret.  Very cool tool and sooooo handy…

And yes, the police can and do read those little stickers that designate the month/year that the tags expire.  The color coding of years is a great help and a dead giveaway.  Example:  If your tag expires in Dec. the tag reads ’12’ and if the 2009 ones were red, the 2010 ones will be blue.  You don’t have to be able to read the tiny print giving the date, just the ’12’ and know what color the current year is.  If it’s red and March 2010, well…oops.

Additionally, after running your tags and confirming that the plates are expired, if it’s been less than a week, in Dayton you just get a ticket and you’re on your way with a warning to park the car until you get the plates renewed.  If it’s been more than a week, the officer is supposed to tow your car, too.  (Regardless if it’s legally parked;  It was on a roadway without proper licensing.)


They don’t need probable cause.  Some departments have scanners  now that work like radar guns  so they don’t have to enter the numbers manually. They can literally do thousands of checks per hour, depending on where they park and shoot.  They’re even using it to catch tax evaders.   


we got they city police , we got county sherrifs , what do we need the state highway patrol for? the fist two you find on the highways also . I think were paying for more then we need….or want.