SPRINGFIELD, Mo -- Missouri lawmakers are considering increasing fees at license offices. It would be the first price hike in 20 years. The state representative behind the bill says license offices in rural parts of the state may have to close without the increase.
Representative Jeff Knight, a Republican from Lebanon, introduced the bill after organizations like the Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks, which run license offices, told him they may have to shut down some locations down unless their fees are increased.
"The state supplies them with nothing," explained Knight. "Used to the state would supply then with paper and computers, toner, everything they needed."
The majority of license office transactions are between $2.50-$3.50, the same charges they have taken since 1999.
"If you buy a 40 thousand dollar pickup and go pay your taxes and everything, that license office gets $2.50 to take care of all of the paperwork for that transaction," Knight continued. "That is to pay the employee and everything they use during that transaction."
If passed, the bill would raise those charges to six dollars. Larry and Judy Self, who just purchased new licenses, are okay with that.
"Not a problem with me, because it helps the bureaus to stay in business and stay conveniently located." said Larry. And Judy added "Nobody likes an increase but it is a reasonable amount and they have an overhead like anyone else."
Representative Knight hopes that if the bill passes, more license offices will be able to open around the state.
"One of our representatives said that people in his district are driving an average of 48 miles to the next license office." said Knight.
"I would rather pay the increase and have it convenient and the office open." Larry said. "They have got to stay open and pay their bills like everyone else." added Judy.
House bill 584 has passed in the house and has been sent over to the state senate. Representative Knight hopes that it will be introduced to the senate this upcoming week. If the senate passes the bill and Governor Mike Parson signs it, the fee increases would begin in August.