Plan to hike auto fees dies


A proposal that would have allowed California car dealers to sharply increase fees charged for processing auto purchases and lease agreements has died.

The plan was being promoted by state Sen. Alex Padilla (D- Pacoima) as a so-called trailer bill to the state budget. That status would allow the proposal to become law without going through a legislative subcommittee and a public hearing.

But a spokesman for the lawmaker said he decided “not to move forward with the proposal.”


Padilla’s chief of staff, Bill Mabie, said the lawmaker considered the proposal at the request of law enforcement agencies as a way to speed up getting license plates on cars. He did not say why the idea was dropped or whether it would be reconsidered in the next legislative session.

A coalition of consumer groups including Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports magazine; the Center for Responsible Lending; and the Consumers for Auto Safety and Reliability also opposed the plan, which was first reported by The Times last month.

Padilla’s proposal would have raised documentation fees to $75 from $55 for new- and used-car purchases and from $45 for car leases.

It also would have required new-car dealers and some used-car dealers to adopt an electronic vehicle registration system that slices the time it takes to get license plates on cars to a few weeks from about three months.

The added fees would have offset any additional cost dealers might incur from using the electronic system.

Consumer groups said the plan was a back-door way to give auto dealers millions more in profits.