Update to Connecticut Legislation Regarding Antique and Classic Vehicles

Update to Connecticut Legislation Regarding Antique and Classic Vehicles

The legislative update contained in the attached newsletter contains the latest status on the three bills adverse to the hobby. While we have had success in influencing the legislation, we are not out of the woods yet. It has been reported that the M.O.R.E Commission will be looking to amend Bill 5102 to raise the registration fees on antique motor vehicles. I have copied the legislative report from this newsletter to the end of this E-mail for your convenience.

Legislative Report: Dave Bajumpaa

As noted in the April newsletter, this has been a busy legislative session with three bills introduced that are adverse to the antique auto hobby. While we have made progress on these bills, we are not out of the woods yet.

Senate Bill 843:

The most adverse of these three bills was Senate Bill 843 (the Governor’s Budget Bill). As originally proposed Senate Bill 843 would exempt up to the first $20,000 of the assessed value of any motor vehicle from local property tax. Also as originally proposed, Senate Bill 843 would have eliminated the $500 maximum property tax assessment value on any antique, rare, or special interest motor vehicle, and would treat an antique motor vehicle in the same manner as all other motor vehicles in the state. On May 6th, a joint favorable substitute version of this bill was made publicly available. This substitute version of the bill delayed the implementation of the $20,000 exemption until July 1, 2019. In addition, the substitute version of the bill deleted the section eliminating the $500 maximum property tax assessment value on any antique, rare, or special interest motor vehicle. Therefore, the $500 maximum property tax assessment value on any antique, motor vehicle remains in effect. That is good news that is a direct result of the feedback we have provided to our legislators in opposition to this portion of the bill.

House Bill 5102:

As drafted by the Planning and Development Committee, House Bill 5102, “An Act Establishing a State-Wide Mill Rate for Motor Vehicles and Amending the Definition of an Antique, Rare or Special Interest Motor Vehicle,” proposed to increase the minimum age of an antique, rare or special interest motor vehicle from 20 to 30 years. As originally proposed, the bill also included a provision to raise the maximum assessed value of an antique motor vehicle from $500 to $2500. After a review by the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee, a substitute version of this bill was made publicly available on May 8, 2013. This substitute version of the bill deleted the portions of the bill adverse to the antique auto hobby. The substitute version of the original bill also eliminated the concept of a state wide mill rate on all motor vehicles and replaced it with essentially the same words as Senate Bill 843 that would exempt up to the first $20,000 of the assessed value of any motor vehicle from local property tax starting after July 1, 2019. This is also good news that is a direct result of our efforts in contacting our legislators and voicing our opposition to the portions of the bill adverse to the antique auto hobby.

M.O.R.E. Commission Potential Impacts:

However, as I noted at the beginning of this report, we are not out of the woods yet. As I noted in my Legislative Report in the April newsletter, the Municipal Opportunities and Regional Efficiencies or M.O.R.E. Commission was developing an alternative proposal to address the property tax on motor vehicles. At a press conference on Tuesday May 21, 2013, the recommendations of the M.O.R.E. Commission were released. The commission recommended a state wide maximum mill rate on motor vehicles be established that would initially cap the rate at 80 mills for all municipalities and lower it to 72 mills in the following year, and then 10 mills every consecutive year until it is eliminated by 2020. The phase-out would begin next July. The current equalized mill rate in Connecticut at the moment is about 28.9 mills. Hartford’s mill rate is one of the highest at 74 mills, which means Hartford would not begin to lose revenue under the proposal until the second year. This would result in a gradual shift of the local property tax burden from owners of motor vehicles to businesses and real property owners.

Regarding antique motor vehicles we understand that the M.O.R.E. Commission proposes that the maximum $500 assessed value for determining property tax on antique motor vehicles will remain in effect. However, starting in 2015, the registration fees for antique rare or special interest motor vehicles will increase by an amount unknown at this time. Given that the registration fees on antique cars are the same as those on modern cars, this apparently is a means by which the legislature will be seeking additional revenue from antique auto hobbyists. In addition, the commission recommends that the minimum age of an antique, rare or special interest motor vehicle be increased from 20 to 30 years.

The specific details of the M.O.R.E. Commission are not yet available. I understand that the details will be included in an amendment to House Bill 5102 that will be introduced between now (May 25, 2013) and the end of the legislative session scheduled for June 5, 2013. At this point I would ask you to stand by and stay tuned on this. I will be sending out a follow up E-mail providing you with the specific details and asking you to contact your legislator.

House Bill 6495:

For those of you that received my April 5th legislative update via E-mail, you already know the success we achieved on Year of Manufacture plates:

I have great news to report regarding House Bill 6495, “An Act Concerning Revisions to the Motor Vehicle Statutes,” which originally proposed to eliminate the use of Year of Manufacture (YOM) Plates in Connecticut. As I reported in the April newsletter, on March 15, the Transportation Committee endorsed a substitute version of this bill. I was hopeful that the Transportation Committee deleted the section of the bill eliminating YOM plates. The subsititute version of the bill was published on the CT General Assembly website on Thursday (April 4). I am happy to report that the YOM section of the bill was indeed deleted! That means Connecticut hobbyists will be able to continue to display YOM plates on their antique vehicles! This is a direct result of your efforts to contact your legislators and voice your opposition to the YOM elimination. Our voices were heard!

Other issues:

The table included in this newsletter summarizes the bills related to the hobby and other auto related matters that have been introduced in the legislative session to date. The 4C’s will continue to monitor these bills in this legislative session.

Thank you to Al Lindsay for passing this along.

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