DMV Brainwash

by Michael Berry on September 30, 2010

When I took my $80,000 vehicle into the DMV to register it; I had a very interesting experience. To register it cost me over $1,000, but I’m not here to complain about it, because I’m grateful to be able to afford it, but I’m going to make another point.

First, let me give you a little history. In the beginning the purpose of state vehicle registration was to provide a means of identification, for obvious reasons, and to provide a means for the states to build but primarily maintain roads and highways. So all states adopted similar policies of charging a registration fee based upon the weight of the vehicle because of potentially doing more damage to the roads. So a large truck would pay considerably more than a passenger car for example. In Texas, and I’m sure other states, this is still in place. I would have paid a little over $100 for a personalized license plate.  California has changed the rules by some politician coming up with the great idea to charge more expensive vehicle owners more and I’m not agreeing or disagreeing with it, but here’s my point.

When I approached the manager of the DMV for clarification and to make sure she understood that I had already paid the taxes on the vehicle in Texas when I purchased it, these were her words. “Yes I understand you paid the taxes in Texas, but this is not a tax.” I’ll let you decide for yourself but to me this is absolutely a tax that the politicians have convinced the masses of people that it is not a tax. I find this very interesting.

I would love to have your thoughts,

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

SocialBeeOnline October 1, 2010 at 5:43 am

Yeah, California is an interesting state in which to register an automobile. My parents bought a car in CA, then two years later moved to Nevada. When they moved back to CA they had a terrible time getting it registered in CA, because according to the DMV they needed to do a bunch of mechanical work to make it CA smog compliant (since it was coming from a state whose laws were less stringent), but all the equipment was there when they bought the car originally in CA. They finally got it cleared by taking it to a DMV approved mechanic and him writing a letter stating that the car was already compliant.

When I moved out of CA, the state kept sending me registration requests for two years, to my new address in AZ. They obviously knew I no longer lived in CA, and I told them about 8 or 10 times.

You just can’t talk to some people….

Live with passion and purpose,

Michael Berry October 1, 2010 at 10:20 pm

Thanks for your response Vanessa. It will be interesting to find out what Hawaii has since we’ll be moving there in about 7 months.


Bryan McHeyzer October 1, 2010 at 6:01 am

Hi Michael,
I have to agree with you that this is a tax…
A payment to the govt for the registration of anything is a tax.
Hey we get it here too in Australia …
I find it very hard to explain something to them when they have already made up their mind.

Have a good one

Michael Berry October 1, 2010 at 10:25 pm

Thanks Bryan for your comments. Yes I find it interesting how people just accept things as they are without considering what they really are.


Dr. Adam Sheck October 1, 2010 at 2:30 pm

On the one hand, I am happy to contribute to keeping the infrastructure of the country going. On the other, I hate to feel ripped off or misrepresented and double billed! Happy to pay once, but to double pay just feels wrong. I think practically the only workaround is to “stretch” the law and only register in the new state a year after you purchased the car. At the same time, the larger philosophy of taxes and registration has all been lost and twisted to whatever agenda is popular at the time. The original intent of income tax has been lost as well. The best solution is always to earn more money and try not to stress.
Thanks for sharing,

Michael Berry October 1, 2010 at 10:28 pm

Thanks Adam for all your comments. I especially like your last one “the best solution is always to earn more money”. You got it.


Edward October 2, 2010 at 3:03 am

Interesting experience you share with us today Michael. Not exactly sure what to call it other than it sounds like the state needs some extra money and are looking for “creative ways” to get it.
Up here in Ontario Canada it is $75 / year for my car.

Make it a great day!
God Bless,

Michael Berry October 3, 2010 at 4:10 pm

The real point I trying to make is that people have been so brainwashed they don’t even know when they’re being taxed. Thanks for your comments Ed.


Shari Weiss October 4, 2010 at 4:13 am

Edward & Michael, was this post about the original registration for bringing it into the state? That’s what I understood, so I take it your yearly fees will be less, right?

On another note, I’m hoping to find a really happy, laid back DMV person next week when I have to re-take the Behind The Wheel driving test as a result of an unfortunate fainting accident that led to my newest blog DRIVING MISS SHARI.

One of my recent posts was ten videos posted by the California DMV on YouTube to show the most common mistakes made by drivers on the test.

Back to your original question, Michael: I do agree it is Outrageous to pay $1,000 to register any vehicle when the retail taxes have already been paid at the purchase.

Michael Berry October 4, 2010 at 3:03 pm

Thanks Shari for all your comments. I’m afraid the registration fee will only go down slightly, based upon depreciation next year. On the other hand I will not have to be concerned about that since we’ll be living in Hawaii and I’ll go through another experience. I’m looking forward to it. All the best for your driving test. Make sure you study the book for the written test since they ask questions about legal alcohol limits and etc. I did not read it before and almost flunked.


China Sourcing Gary October 2, 2010 at 5:46 pm

The problem is that there is a huge disconnect between the taxes we pay and the services we get. How do evaluate if our money is being spent wisely or efficiently? All can say is that California is going broke with attitudes like this. They deserve what they get.

Michael Berry October 3, 2010 at 4:15 pm

I did not want to start a lot of negativity in this post. See my comments to Ed. Yes I do doubt that all the auto taxes are going toward road repair. I will have to state that this area of Palm Springs, CA is the cleanest and has the best roads of any area I’ve ever seen.


Peter Fuller MBA October 3, 2010 at 12:10 am

Of course it is a tax 🙂

First taxes, then when that is not enough then user fees, and now full circle back to taxes,

Michael Berry October 3, 2010 at 4:16 pm

Thanks for your comment Peter.


Perry Davis October 4, 2010 at 5:10 pm

Michael, there is a saying that I’ve heard all my life “if it walks like a duck!, if it quacks like a duck!, it is a duck. Same can be said about a payment to the government if looks like a tax, it works like a tax, it is a tax. You are correct “people have been so brainwashed they don’t even know when they’re being taxed.” this is why the government is no longer of the people but the career politicians.

You gave us the best solution in this reply to comments “the best solution is always to earn more money”. it is also very important to change our focus from taxes to abundance. Thanks for this unique post.

Perry A Davis Jr
Music City USA

Michael Berry October 4, 2010 at 5:41 pm

Thanks Perry your got my point perfectly and yes an attitude of abundance is the answer.


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