Metro-East News

Illinois gets $5.24 million windfall from late license plate fees

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White stopped mailing renewal reminders in October to save $450,000 a month in postage. License plate late fees are up $5.24 million so far this year compared to the same time last year. White is pushing e-mail reminders as an alternative.
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White stopped mailing renewal reminders in October to save $450,000 a month in postage. License plate late fees are up $5.24 million so far this year compared to the same time last year. White is pushing e-mail reminders as an alternative. Provided

If you paid a $20 late fee because you didn’t get the reminder about your Illinois license plates expiring, you are far from alone.

Through Tuesday, the Illinois Secretary of State collected $5.24 million more this year than during the same time period last year in late fees for vehicle license plates. There were 476,551 late fees collected from drivers so far this year compared to 214,467 late fees through June 20, 2015, according to Secretary of State spokesman Dave Druker.

The renewal notices stopped in October because Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White said his office could not afford the $450,000 a month in postage for reminders without a 2016 budget in place. Illinois lawmakers and Gov. Bruce Rauner failed to agree on a fiscal year 2016 budget and on July 1 will begin 2017 without a budget.

Drivers who go longer than 30 days without renewing their $101 license plate stickers face the additional $20 late fee. The total collected so far this year is $9.53 million in late plate fees compared to $4.29 million for the same period last year.

Druker said 2.3 million drivers are now signed up to receive e-mail reminders about renewals. Drivers can sign up at cyberdriveillinois.com for the e-mail notices, but need a registration ID and a PIN.

Complaints about the no-reminder late fees prompted the Illinois House to pass a bill giving motorists a 30-day grace period during which police could not ticket them for having expired stickers. A final bill was not passed by both chambers before the regular legislative session ended.

The latest action on the bill was June 3, when state Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Swansea, signed on as a co-sponsor. Other local co-sponsors include Rep. Dwight Kay, R-Glen Carbon, and Rep. Dan Beiser, D-Alton.

“People are pretty concerned that the state didn’t remind them when they were used to getting notices,” Kay said. “It’s an unjust penalty on people.”

He said the bill could still be passed but expires Thursday.

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