OPINION | DRIVETIME MAHATMA: Ideas arise for ancient temp tags

Color us perplexed on best way to solve plethora of expired temporary plates

Man of Many Contacts: About multi-year-old temporary vehicle tags. Why not simply color code the temp plates similar to permanent metal plates with different colors each year? A simple color code would be effective, as well as a minor encouragement to get-er done. -- Sales Tax Payer

Dear Sales: Readers observe the occasional temp plate that is spectacularly old. In any event, we believe that every legislator hangs on every word of this column, and so pass along the idea.

This also made us go outside and look at the little tags in the upper right-hand corner of the license plates of our two vehicles. Those tags change color every year. The current color -- our vehicles renew in January and February -- is white. Color coding isn't exactly a new concept.

Dear Mahatma: Here is my entry in the oldest temporary paper license contest. I would venture to say that most of these vehicles have a lien against them. The lien holder receives the title once the vehicle is registered and sales tax paid. Since this obviously has not happened, why is the lien holder not holding the owner responsible? -- Curious

Dear Curious: Thanks for sending along the photo of a paper temp plate that has been shredded by time and weather, although we can read that the deadline to register this vehicle was Dec. 17, 2021. It's a Jeep, silver or white.

Dec. 17, 2021, is, by our calculations, about 15 months ago. To paraphrase a country song, it ain't the oldest, but it ain't bad.

The lien question is excellent. We threw it at Scott Hardin, spokesguy for the Department of Finance and Administration. But first let's clarify that a lien is a claim against an asset that is used as collateral to satisfy a debt. A lien holder, a lender, has the legal right to repossess a vehicle if the borrower doesn't pay up.

Hardin said if a buyer doesn't register a vehicle in a timely manner -- 30 days, people -- the lien holder has the ability to register the vehicle and perfect the lien.

To do so, the lien holder will file a direct lien with DF&A for $1. The direct lien provides ownership of the vehicle for the lien holder. This also gives the lien holder the ability to file an application for a REPO title.

Dear Mahatma: I read this headline -- "Bill adds 30 days to register vehicles" -- in the newspaper and was a bit perplexed. How will this help with the problem of tardy registrations? -- Western Arkansas Stringer

Dear Stringer: Presumably this will help people who buy a vehicle to rustle up the sales tax if given 60 rather than 30 days to register. Base state sales tax is 6.5 percent.

So buy a used GMC Sierra for $20,000 and then pay an additional $1,300 in sales tax. Seriously, who has an extra $1,300 lying around?

Vanity plate: BADJUDY. How bad, we wonder?