May 23, 2018
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LePage vetoes bill to allow towns, cities to raise auto registration fees

By Matthew Stone, BDN Staff

AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage issued his third veto of the legislative session Friday, rejecting a bill that would allow towns and cities to charge up to $2 more than they currently can to process new or existing motor vehicle registrations.

The bill, LD 405, would have allowed municipalities to charge up to $5 to renew registrations, up from the $3 maximum. Towns and cities would have been able to charge as much as $6 to process new auto registrations, up from the $4 ceiling. The municipal agent fees are charged on top of the motor vehicle excise tax.

The bill passed the House 89-57 and the Senate 24-11 late last month, largely along party lines with most Democrats supporting the measure and most Republicans opposing it. Support in the House fell short of the two-thirds threshold needed to override the veto.

In his veto message, LePage criticized lawmakers for passing “minor bills” without widespread support “when they are likely to receive a veto on my desk” and “while the real issues — paying our hospitals and balancing our budget — continue to languish.”

“The problems we face in Maine do not stem from a lack of government taking money from its citizens,” he wrote.

LePage last issued a veto about a month ago when he rejected a bill that would have made commercial tanning off limits to minors. His first veto was in opposition to a measure that would require government agencies and businesses to comply with payment agreements they have set up with county registries of deeds.

Lawmakers have failed to override both vetoes.

LePage on Friday also signed six bills that passed the Legislature without controversy.

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