This bill needs to be stopped
By: George Warren; Columnist
My first car was a brand new 1954 Ford Customline Club Coupe. It sold for $1854, and I proudly borrowed the money and paid for it myself. Baby blue, with factory fender skirts, whitewall tires, wheel covers, radio, heater, straight shift, and Ford’s first overhead valve deep Y block V-8. I was king of the road. Later, I even added dual exhausts and Smitties.
My last new car was a brand new 1965 Mercury Monterey 4 door sedan. As I matured and gained an education, it took me just 10 years to realize that the person who buys a new car has to pay sales tax, currently seven percent, and when he or she drives it around the block, they have lost about 20 percent of their investment. So the way I read it, the cost of enjoying that wonderful new car smell is worth about 27 percent of the vehicle. If you are no more proud than me, you can drive used cars for a lot less, too. And air freshener is cheap. Knock on wood, I have never bought a used lemon. But the brand new 1961 Ford Falcon I bought scarcely had enough compression to pull out of the driveway when I sold it about four years later.
Let me add another useful tip. When you get ready for another car, don’t trade it in to the dealer for a wholesale price. Sell it yourself at the retail price. Help someone else beat Sonny and the boys out of another seven percent, while you realize another couple hundred dollars for your pocket. Remember when Governor Zell Miller tried to impose the sales tax on individual auto sales, and met fierce opposition? My current car is a 2003 Lincoln Town Car, a $48,000 car when new, which I bought for $15,000, with 19,000 miles on it. I bought it from an individual, so there was no sales tax. I am fully disclosing why I oppose House Bill 480, which is being supported by the automobile dealers. This bill would replace the sales tax with an equal seven percent title tax, It is being pushed on the basis that it would eliminate annual ad valorem (or birthday taxes). But it would also apply the seven percent title tax to the buyer every time the car changes hands in the future, no matter who sells it. If your spouse dies and leaves you the car, you can either pay the seven percent title tax, or for a mere $50 fee, you can ask it be waived. The only person who could possibly save under this is the person who drives a car for more than 20 years. Even I trade about every 10 years, miser that I am. This bill has already passed the House, and is up for consideration in the Senate. Our State Senator is Johnny Grant from Milledgeville. His Capitol telephone is 404-656-0082.
I urge you, if you agree with me, to call his office and let your opposition be known. If you don’t, this legislation may become law, and you can expect to pay seven percent every time you have to register a new title on an automobile.Better still, call Senator Ronnie Chance, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, where the bill is assigned. 404-463-1366.
If you don’t, this legislation may become law, and you can expect to pay seven percent every time you have to register a new title on an automobile.
Printed in the January 26, 2009 edition.