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Open Access Publications from the University of California

California Vehicle License Fees: Incidence and Equity

  • Author(s): Dill, Jennifer;
  • Goldman, Todd;
  • Wachs, Martin
  • et al.

Most states tax the value of residents’ motor vehicles. In recent political debates over the future of these levies, the relative effects of these taxes on different socioeconomic groups have been a prominent question. By linking data from the Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey with estimates of vehicle values from consumer vehicle pricing grades, the socioeconomic and demographic incidence of California’s Vehicle License Fee is examined. After the effects of state and federal income tax deductions are taken into account, the fee is found to be as regressive as the state’s sales tax.

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