I have lived in Missouri for almost 28 years. In those 28 years I have had numerous occasions to either register or renew the licence plates of my fleet of automobiles. Before I moved to Missouri I had to register two cars in Michigan. So when I was first exposed to Missouri’s scavenger hunt game called renewing your vehicle’s licence plates, I was a bit put out. This game is sponsored by the State of Missouri’s Department of Revenue. It has always seemed odd that what most states call the Department of Motor Vehicles is in Missouri called the Department of Revenue.
Another oddity in Missouri is the personal property tax. At one time the MO personal property covered all property other than real estate. For me is has always only applied to cars. Every year your vehicle fleet is first assessed, you are then billed and finally you receive your personal property tax receipt. These transactions are all executed by your county government, but I digress.
In order to renew the plates on the Ford Focus, I had to assemble the following documents:
1) Missouri Vehicle Registration Form
a) Missouri licence registration fee, which I had to pay.
b) Agent’s fee, which I had to pay.
c) Missouri new licence plate fee, which I had to pay.
2) St. Louis County 2006 Personal Property Tax Receipt, which I had to pay.
3) St. Louis County 2007 Personal Property Tax Receipt, which I had to pay.
4) A passing Missouri Vehicle Safety Report, which I had to pay.
5) A passing Missouri Vehicle Emissions Report, which I had to pay.
6) Proof of Insurance
7) A check with my valid address printed on it.
8 ) My valid driver licence (yeah really), which I had gotten there earlier this year.
9) A pen, they had run out of them.
I guess you know now why it is called the Department of Revenue. The total not including repairs required to pass the safety inspection or auto insurance was almost $300. I find particularly galling the $7 agents fee. These licencing agencies are political patronage gold mines. They are appointed by the governor, our own Matt Blunt, boy blunder, a Republican. Go figure, red state blues.
If you find this process daunting, you are not alone, especially to people here in Missouri. I daily see on the road rolling wrecks with either no plates at all or a rather faded 30 day temporary tag, which is only $11. This year is a new licence plate year, hence the new licence plate fee, but most years you only get a sticker to update your plates. They use to have people stick them in the lower corner of the plate, but thieves would come by with a pair of tin snips and cut them off.
I don’t know – I hate the DR too, but do we really have a choice? I wouldn’t blame it on the Governor…it’s been awful forever, and I certainly wouldn’t call it “political patronage.” Guess we have to just deal with it until it (maybe?) gets better.