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Revenue gap needs closing before vehicle inspections can be halted

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(The Center Square) – Efforts to end Louisiana’s vehicle inspection regime is being deferred temporarily so lawmakers can find a way to fill a revenue hole that the measure could create.

House Bill 344 would halt the $10 safety inspection requirement most vehicles receive. Drivers are cited if their inspection sticker is missing or out of date. It is sponsored by Rep. Larry Bagley, R-Stonewall.

Bagley told the Appropriations Committee in the House of Representatives on Monday that he had “numerous discussions” with state officials on how to fill the revenue gap if the state does away with the annual vehicle inspections.

“I assured them that they would lose no money,” Bagley said. “We’re still in the process of moving some money around, but it’s not there yet.”

Bagley also said that in his discussions with the State Police, they’ve begged him that they not lose any more money, especially since the passage of concealed carry without a permit reduced their revenues.

Rep. Troy Romero, R-Jennings, said what Bagley was doing “was very admirable.” He said he would be willing to pay an extra registration fee “so my car won’t have to be inspected every year.”

Bagley says there is universal support for the bill. He also said he understood the need for the program “20 to 25 years ago when cars weren’t made as well, there might’ve been a need for that. With the standards with cars now, you can drive a car one hundred, two hundred thousand miles without any problem.”

A new fiscal note says eliminating the inspection stickers would cost the state about $11 million in annual revenues, which go to the Department of Public Safety, the Office of Motor Vehicles and the Office of State Police.

The bill has been amended to increase the fee of annual emissions control stickers for vehicles in parishes governed by the U.S. Clear Air Act from $8 to $18. The five are Ascension, East Baton Rouge, Iberville, Livingston and West Baton Rouge.

The amendment would also provide $9 of each inspection sticker to the State Police and $1 to the Office of Motor Vehicles.

The bill was approved by the Committee on Transportation, Highways and Public Works last week.

At present, revenues from the stickers are distributed to the shop performing the inspection ($4.75), with the remainder going to the state Department of Public Safety & Corrections and Public Safety Services.