The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles board will decide June 27 whether to approve a proposal that will increase annual registration fees by as much as $4 for those who get their tags in person or by mail.
The proposal, if approved, would establish a processing and handling fee of $5 per registration transaction processed in person in a county office or through the mail.
Most of the registration fee paid by Texans goes to the Texas Department of Transportation to fund road work and the rest goes to the DMV and the county where the vehicle is registered.
The DMV said they are expecting a $70 million shortfall beginning in 2018, which is why the proposal was made.
Sen. Don Huffines, R-Dallas, said in a news release he rejects the proposed fee increase.
"A fee increase is the wrong solution to a revenue shortfall," he said. "The Legislature balanced its books despite multibillion dollar revenue shortfalls in 2003 and 2011, and the Texas economy has boomed because of it. A fee increase by the TxDMV would fly in the face of that proven path toward fiscal responsibility and prosperity."
However, under the new proposal the cost of renewing registration online would be cheaper in an effort to incentivize online registration renewal, according to the TxDMW. Right now it costs most residents a few dollars more to register online than it does to do so in person.
About 18 percent of Texans renew their tags online, and 8 percent mail their payment.
If approved, the incentive to get more people registering online would help the DMV by reducing the wait times, but it will at the same time hurt some counties as counties receive more for in-person registrations and less for online.
Beginning in 2017, under the proposal, counties will receive only 25 cents per online registration versus the $2.30 it would receive for walk-in renewals.
Dallas County is expected to lose $700,000, Tarrant County $400,000 and Denton County $300,000 if the proposal goes through.
The base fee (not including added county road and bridge fees) is $51.75 a year if an owner does a walk-in registration and $54.75 for online registration. Under the proposal, paying in person or by mail could cost $55.75 and paying online would cost $54.50, which would be a $1.25 discount from mail or in-person registration and 25 cents less than the current state fee for paying online.
TxDMV's proposal states the processing and handling fee would allow $50.75 to be dedicated to the State Highway Fund, which would result in an additional $47 million or more to the fund.