NC Update:

The General Assembly returned to Raleigh in late January to begin the 2019 long session. Although Republicans lost the super majority, they maintained the overall majority in the legislature. Nevertheless, the loss of a veto-proof Republican majority will result in a different dynamic than last year’s session.  As expected, many Republican legislators disagree with Democrat Governor Cooper’s agenda – especially on items relating to labor laws (minimum wage) and health care (Medicaid expansion), and vice versa. Some legislators have highlighted the importance for collaborative, bipartisan efforts this session in order to get anything accomplished. One shared expectation throughout the legislature is that this long session will be a very long one, indeed.

Discrepancies have surfaced about North Carolina’s debt limit’s impact on transportation bonds. A recent Carolina Journal article discusses the different perspectives between North Carolina’s State Treasurer and NC Department of Transportation. Treasurer Folwell doesn’t believe NC DOT has enough debt space to borrow the full $3 billion for local road and bridge construction promised in the Build NC Bond Act of 2018. However, according to the article, DOT officials aren’t deterred. Click here to read the full article.

Bills of Interest – Introduced This Session

SB 5: Building North Carolina’s Future would expand recently created capital construction fund with additional revenues, providing $2 billion over nine years for K-12 school construction and maintenance.

SB 29/HB 81: Move Over Law/Increase Penalties would increase penalties for violating the Move Over Law.

SC Update:

Today marks the end of six weeks of the General Assembly being in session.  There have been well over a thousand pieces of legislation already going thru the process.  Items of note that could effect the industry

  • Multiple tolling bills along interstate 95
  • CDL requirements such as mandatory human trafficking courses to obtain a cdl
  • Over a dozen bills that would shift workplace requirements such as paid leave and pay equity acts
  • multiple tort changes both for the pro and the con.
  • Driving under the influence of electronics which would impose stiffer penalties on motorists for being on electronic devices while driving.  (this bill has already made its way thru a house committee and is on the calendar for the debate beginning next week) and
  • A coal ash containment bill which has already passed the house and is now in the senate awaiting debate

In addition the house ways and means committee will begin full committee debate on the 19th when we are there hosting the House Republicans for lunch.  At this time the Be Pro Be Proud initiative is being funded as it was part of the Governors budget.  There will also be dollars for economic development which leads to more buildings and road projects which can benefit the association and its members.

The SCDOT gave some updated numbers on projects. $506 million has been deposited in the infrastructure maintenance trust fund since the road user fee was put in place.  Because of the formula being used $764 million in rural road safety, paving and bridge work is under construction.  $150 million more is under development which means over $900 million has been committed to road and bridge projects in the state.  $100 million has been paid out to firms doing the work.

Finally:  Many of you have been asked or asking questions about how the DMV is calculating the new fees.  Below is a document they have put together and sent out to some folks they know run fleets in the state.  It has information as well as contact info for the department should you have questions about how the fees are calculated since the new system went in to place

DMV Notice Regarding PARTIAL Payment of Vehicle Registration/Renewals

& Road Use Fees 

Intra-State >26,000 GVW CMV Fees Notice – Act Now – Contact DMV as Instructed Below

INTRA-state CMVS >26,000 gvw have the option to pay their Registration (renewal) Fees and their Road Use Fee (RUF – former property tax) in two payments. (DMV is cooperating with fleet owners and attempting to claim this process from the Counties.)

As background, 2017’s “Road Funding Bill”, which among other things, amended Section 12-37-2810 (Truck Property Tax Code Sections). This trucking industry-supported initiative was to have moved 100% of the administration of the truck property tax system from the Dept. of Revenue, and Counties, to the Dept. of Motor Vehicles, while changing the former property tax on CMVs >26,000 gvw to a “Road Use Fee- RUF”. This was to apply to both inter and intra-state fleets. It also allowed the state to capture new revenues from out-of-state fleets operating in the state via the new RUF. DMV is trying to work through this process and is offering to work with intra-state fleets to ease the cash-flow/payment process.

CMV owners received a Vehicle Tax Notice in the mail from their county of residence. These notices may have lumped all vehicle-related fees into one lump-sum. The notices may have said, “DMV Fee”, “Road Use Fee”, or something of the sort. (The various Counties used inconsistent terminology.) These fees were to have been: Vehicle Registration + Road Use Fee (old p-tax) + any Local vehicle add-on fees. Also, some fleets had previously chosen to pay their CMV’s Registration Fee on either a: biennial, annual or semi-annual basis. The notice would have included that choice/amount of payment in the lump-sum.

The Road Use Fee is calculated in the same way as the former Property Tax.

There are NO increases in Registration – OR – Road Use Fees.

The RUF is “Due” at the same time as registration. The RUF is to be paid prior to renewing the CMV’s registration. Previously, this fee was a property tax paid to DOR in arrears. It is now paid in advance – and in order to renew/register the CMV.

The DMV is attempting to support fleet owners’ cash-flow concerns by setting up a partial-pay process for these fees. There is a short-term, six-month license plate that is available to fleets. These plates renew in March and September, so taxpayers can also opt to split their RUF into two payments. These half-year plates are stocked in DMV branches statewide.

The Registration Fee can be paid per “customer choice”: Biennially (2-years at once), Annually, Semi-Annually (six-month basis).

Six month plates may be obtained from the local DMV. Thereafter stickers will be issued with payment of fees.  As of now taxpayers must go to their DMV locations for these transactions.

If your County billed you for County vehicle add-on fees, you must pay them directly.

Please call Kyle Shealy, DMV Vehicle Services Business Analyst, at 803-896-9514 and/or Larry Murray, DMV Director of Vehicle Services, at 803-896-4879.