Pay Half Your Car Taxes, Twice

Thomas MacMillan PhotoUnder a new budget amendment from Dixwell Alder Jeanette Morrison, New Haveners wouldn’t have to pay all their annual car tax at once. They could split it into two payments.

The Board of Alders Finance Committee approved that proposal at a Wednesday night budget meeting. The full board will have a final vote on the idea on May 27, along with the rest of the city’s proposed budget for the fiscal year starting July 1.

Morrison (pictured) said her new two-payment plan would help out people who can’t afford to pay their annual car taxes all at once.

“I’ve been getting a lot of phone calls,” she said. “People just don’t have their tax money at one time.”

The tax collector’s office doesn’t offer payment plans, she noted. “If your tax is $1,200 and you give $800, they’ll take it. But you’ll come out of the store and the car will be gone, too” — towed for unpaid taxes.

“This is an institutional payment plan,” she said. “I’m proposing that we allow people to pay in two installments.”

Property taxes can already be paid in two installments, Morrison said. “This is an amendment for the people. You can borrow $500. You can’t borrow $1,000.”

Newhallville/Prospect Hill Alder Michael Stratton said he likes the idea, but wanted to add some kind of incentive to encourage people to pay their car taxes all at once: “I don’t want to be obnoxious, but what about a $10 convenience fee for paying it in two installments?” The more payments there are, the more money the city might lose in unpaid taxes, he said.

Morrison said she appreciated the suggestion but that it wouldn’t be right to penalize people who didn’t have the money to pay their taxes all at once.

Morrison’s proposal passed unanimously.

Morrison, who is in her second term in office, fought in her first term to allow city people to use Lighthouse Point Park without paying fees.

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posted by: Elizabethaiken on May 15, 2014  1:05pm

“This is an amendment for the people.”  Is Alder Morrison suggesting that the other amendments to lower the tax hike are not for the people? Who are the people? Who inhabits New Haven, except people.

I support Alder Morrison’s amendment. I do not support her implication that the other amendments were not for “the people.”

posted by: Gauss on May 15, 2014  1:16pm

If your car tax is 1,200 and you can’t afford to pay it, then you can’t afford that car. I’ve never paid more than $150, and my car, while a few years old, was not exactly a junker.

posted by: Noteworthy on May 15, 2014  1:39pm

Clearasil Moment:

1. Morrison votes to raise taxes, increase spending, increase parking fines.

2. Morrison votes against every proposal that would decrease spending enough to lower taxes.

3. Morrison then says “the people” don’t have their car taxes all at one time and should be allowed a payment plan. If taxes were lower, is there a better chance they could pay on time?

4. It seems Morrison believes in the Rent to Own Model for buying a toaster.

posted by: Anderson Scooper on May 15, 2014  2:36pm

Good gosh yes!

While you’re at it, please set-up e-Billing, and an e-payment system that doesn’t cost an additional $50. Why not an agreement that allows for quarterly payments, or even monthly payments with a small surcharge?  (Just like GEICO does.)

Nowadays with DMV holds and the BootFinder, it’s not as if anyone gets away with not paying these taxes. Might as well make the system user-friendly.

posted by: FacChec on May 15, 2014  2:45pm

What is procedurally wrong about this amendment is that is NOT amending anything the Mayor proposed. Aldermen can only introduce an amendment to change the Mayors recommended budget.

In this instance the Mayor made no such offer concerning a car tax payment collection timetable. Morrison is over stepping her boundary.

Therefore, Morrison should have proposed a new ordinance amendment to the tax levy in the form of a communication to the board president to assign to a committee for public hearing. This is the established process; the unanimously voted amendment should be withdrawn immediately and the following procedure followed.

Sec. 3. Procedure for enacting Ordinances, Resolutions, etc.; when Ordinances effective.

Ordinances: Committee Proceedings, First and Second Readings.
All Ordinances shall be submitted to the Board of Alders, referred to and reported by a suitable committee after Public Hearing, printed in the journal for a first reading, and enacted upon second reading which shall take place at least one (1) week after the first reading202. The second reading of Ordinances cannot be waived

posted by: Eddie on May 15, 2014  3:34pm

Jeanette Morrison proposes a perfectly reasonable and good policy.  Noteworthy still feels compelled to attack her. 

The Harp administration removes a fence that New Haven collectively hated and that was a blight on civil rights for decades.  Noteworthy finds a way to criticize the effort. 

Stratton proposes a crazy idea like halving the fire department, an idea he later admits would put the most vulnerable in New Haven at even greater risk.  Noteworthy bends over backwards to support the idea.

What an exercise in free-thinking and independent mindedness!

posted by: connecticutcontrarian on May 15, 2014  4:49pm

Great suggestion.  Now this is change I can believe in

posted by: Don in New Haven on May 16, 2014  11:48pm

If you can’t pay the tax, don’t buy a new car. This tax and most others negatively affect the local economy.

NH car tax should be eliminated.

posted by: Don in New Haven on May 17, 2014  6:22am

Gauss, you are right!

If you can’t afford (don’t want to pay) the tax, you can’t afford the car.

My annual car tax is $19.00. Why? I have a 1989 car that I keep in good shape at a cost lower than the tax on a new car. If I need to travel far, I rent a car.

Over the years, taxes on my car slowly went down while reasonable taxes on my house rose sharply beyond my ability to pay. All the while I could hear, “He can afford it.”

Some people own an expensive car for prestige. Set your priorities properly and live more comfortably. Stop complaining when your simple decision can reduce your pain.

Anderson Scooper, I talked with our former Mayor JDS about online payments 10 years ago and you can see the zero results.

The City may get a part of the present excessive charges for paying outside of City Hall and would lose that extra cash if we paid online. Also, using computers to come into the 21st century could cost City Hall jobs.