I got up this morning ready to do a task that I dread….renew my vehicle license tags. One of the things I miss about living in Tennessee was how easy it was to renew your tags. In Tennessee, if it had wheels, you could slap a license on it. They’d even waive the wheels clause if you were really nice to then. In the six years we lived in Ohio, I don’t ever remember renewing our tags, although I’m sure we did….which means it must have been relatively painless.
Then we moved to Missouri.
In Missouri, we have property tax levied on our vehicles. In other words, even if you drive a junker, you’re going to pay a couple of hundred bucks every year to your county for the privelige of driving that junker on their roads. Then there’s the dreaded inspection, which I think was created by the Auto Repairman’s Lobby as a diabolical way to get you to fix stuff like your windshield wipers.
Both our trucks’ tags expire late in the year, so I try and pace myself as not to have to pay the tax on both vehicles in the same month. Last month, I tagged the Suburban, after going to six or seven different places to get an inspection. Local garages and muffler shops do the inspection, but can’t charge more than $12.50 to do it, so unless they find something horribly wrong, it’s not too cost effective.
This month, it was the Montero. I had a bit of a break in that you only need to inspect every other year, and I knew I’d done it last year. The tax, however, cannot be avoided, and ton the Montero it’s is over $300. That, with the tag itself, would be bumping $360.
Last night I sat rearranging the checkbook numbers and telling myself that this was very, very unfortunate.
This morning, I awoke to a snowstorm. So of course, I went out and started the Montero, thinking only lunatics would be out driving, and the lines at the DMV would not be long. I was right on both accounts.
My first stop was the tax office, where they cheerfully told me that I’d already paid the tax (I have no memory of this, but they are the trained professionals and were willing to give me a letter stating that I was a free man…). Then, on to the DMV, where shock of all shockers, there was no one ahead of me in line. I walked up, gave the lady my paperwork, and waited for the damage assesment.
“You don’t need to get your tags yet…” she said.
“I know, they’re good to the end of the month, but I’m here.” I said.
“No, they’re good ’till late 2009. Last year you got the two year tags.”
Oh. I see. Taxes, paid. License, fine.
All I could think of was how glad I was that I didn’t need to sit there and wait for an hour to learn that I didn’t need to be there at all.
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