The state of North Carolina wants to know if you own an “All Terrain Vehicle” (ATV), dirt bike, or any other vehicle. And they don’t just want to know about it, they want you to register it with the state and pay $15 per year for the privilege of owning one.
Require Off-Road Vehicles to be Registered – SB642 – is sponsored by Sen. Doug Berger (D-Franklin) and co-sponsored by Sen. Ellie Kinnaird (D-Orange). This bill would require any off-road vehicle, be it ATV, dirt bike, four-wheeler or other vehicle, to be licensed by the NC Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
The owner would be required to verify with the state that they have paid sales and use tax on the vehicle, as well as pay a $15 per year registration fee.
This bill is bad for a number of reasons.
First, this bill is nothing more than a revenue generator for government and who’s to say that money in turn will be put to good use. The licensing fee and proof of sales tax requirement are solely intended to raise money for the state government. Advocates of this bill say licensing is needed for identifying ATVs, but this bill is nothing more than a tax increase bill.
Second, what business is it of the government if I operate any type of vehicle on private property? These vehicles are considered “off-road” for a reason – they don’t use public roads, thus why does the government need to know about their use? If I drive an ATV on my land, what interest is it of the government’s? There is none.
Third, by licensing these vehicles with the department, they are no longer considered “personal property,” exempt from being charged property taxes by county government. Thus, owners of these vehicles will now be subject to paying property taxes every year.
This bill hits the trifecta of bad ideas – needless government oversight and licensing, invasion of private property rights and an increase in taxes and fees. For these reasons, SB 642 is this week’s bad bill of the week.