Raleigh, N.C. — Part of the House budget proposal is an across-the-board 50 percent increase in fees at the state Division of Motor Vehicles, from vehicle registration to license renewals.
An eight-year driver's license would go from $32 to $48. Annual car registration would go from $28 to $42. The surcharge for electric vehicles, meant to replace lost gas tax revenue, would go from $100 to $150.
Those fee increases have caused some heartburn within the House Republican caucus. Rep. Paul Tine, U-Dare, acknowledged that fact as he presented the transportation budget to the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday.
"There’s always going to be someone who has a position they’re not going to like about this," Tine said. "We spread the burden of investment as evenly as possible."
Pointing out that DMV fees have not increased since 2005, Tine asserted the 50 percent fee hike would be "a rate just above inflation," a claim echoed by transportation budget co-chairman Rep. John Torbett, R-Gaston.
The math, however, doesn't hold up.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the agency in charge of tracking inflation and increases in the Consumer Price Index, the cumulative rate of inflation between 2005 and 2015 is actually just above 22 percent.
Using the BLS calculator, an inflationary increase in the $32 license fee would bring it to $38.46, not $48. Auto registration would increase to $33.65, rather than $42.
Asked how much new money the House proposal would add to the transportation budget, Torbett said about $300 million, adding that it is "specifically addressing the resurfacing of roads and port modernization."