ATLANTA — Lawmakers couldn’t come to an agreement on changes to the state’s new vehicle title tax, during a debate the day the law went into effect.
Senators passed a measure Friday to make several changes to the law passed last year, specifically working to right a provision that had led to double taxation on people who lease vehicles. The bill also makes changes in regard to rental cars and with buy-here, pay-here locations.
“If we don’t pass this bill the leasing industry is shut down,” said Sen. Don Balfour, R-Snellville, as he introduced the bill. “We’ve got to move forward to get something fixed.”
Because the Senate moved a different version of the bill than the House, lawmakers paused to try to get agreement on the version on March 1, so car dealers could continue to do business. But the state House adjourned without acting on the measure, meaning a final resolution will have to wait until Monday at the earliest.
“I don’t think we have a choice because we can’t shut the state down and we can’t shut business down,” Sen. Steve Thompson, D-Marietta, said of voting yes despite objections to the buy-here, pay-here provisions. “We’re in a position where we better pass it.”
According to the title tax law passed last year, people will pay a 6.5 percent title tax when they purchase new or used vehicles. The rate increases over the next two years to 7 percent in 2015.
Becoming effective March 1, the title tax replaces sales taxes charged at dealerships as well as annual ad valorem taxes, although people will continue to pay the so-called “birthday tax” until they no longer own a car under that system.