Illinois Rakes In More License Plate Renewal Fees Than Usual After Failing To Mail Reminders

Image courtesy of Great Beyond

Some Illinois residents are a bit ticked off right now, after the state reaped $5.24 million more this year than it did in 2015 from license plate renewal fees. That’s a lot of money — were people just really distracted or forgetful this year? Not quite. An impasse on the state budget meant officials didn’t have the cash to mail reminders out to drivers.

Without reminders, people were hit with $20 late fees, and a lot of them, reports the Belleville News-Democrat: through June 20 this year, 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. That amounts to 476,551 late fees collected from drivers thus far in 2016, compared to 214,467 late fees through June 20, 2015.

So what happened? State legislators legislators and Gov. Bruce Rauner couldn’t agree on a fiscal year 2016 budget. And without that budget in place, Illinois Secretary of state Jesse White said his office couldn’t swing the $450,000 per month in postage required to mail the reminders, so renewal notices stopped going out in October. As it stands now, the state won’t have a fiscal 2017 budget in place on July 1, either.

A spokesman for the Secretary of State’s office says 2.3 million drivers have now been signed up for email reminders about renewals instead. If you want to be on that list, you an sign up at

After drivers complained about the lack of reminders, the Illinois House passed a bill that would allow a 30-day grace period wherein police couldn’t ticket motorists for having expired stickers. A final bill wasn’t passed by both chambers before the regular legislative session ended.

Rep. Dwight Kay of Glen Carbon, a co-sponsor of the House legislation, called the late fee an “unjust penalty.”

“People are pretty concerned that the state didn’t remind them when they were used to getting notices,” Kay said, adding that the bill could still be passed but expires June 30, the end of the current fiscal year.

Illinois gets $5.24 million windfall from late license plate fees [Belleville News-Democrat]

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