A Tama County state senator says he’s concerned the effort to raise the registration fee on pickup trucks is being delayed by the Democrats who may not have forgotten the political backlash they suffered after raising the minivan registration fees in the 1990’s. John Putney, a Republican from Gladbrook, admits his bill is also unpopular with many of his fellow Republicans.
Putney says it’s going to take a lot of political courage to pass the bill. Putney says: "Everybody can sit around and talk about it, and say that it’s the right thing to do, but they’re afraid for their political behinds. But I’m not." Putney says less than 80-thousand of the more than 700-thousand pickups registered in Iowa are still owned by farmers, yet everyone pays the lower fee that was originally intended to help farmers.
Putney says there are a lot of people who would still like to exempt farmers, but he says his bill doesn’t exempt anybody. Putney says a bonafide business can take a write off of the fee and says it’s hard to determine who gets an exemption.
Putney says taxing trucks by weight like other automobiles would generate 30-million dollars for the road use tax fund. Putney says good roads and bridges are key to Iowa’s infrastructure and economic growth. Truck owners now pay a registration fee of 65 dollars.