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Kentucky lawmakers file bills to bring relief during car tax increases

According to the Kentucky Department of Revenue, total vehicle valuations are estimated to be up 40% higher than they were last year.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kentucky state lawmakers are trying to pump the brakes on increasing car values.

During the pandemic, our FOCUS investigative team found that cars were increasing in value - not decreasing - so drivers would likely have to pay higher taxes on their vehicles than they did the previous year.

According to the Kentucky Department of Revenue, that is indeed the case - total vehicle valuations are estimated to be up 40% higher than they were last year.

RELATED: Kentucky's car tax: How fair is it?

The department said there are several factors contributing to the issue, including constraints for vehicle production and inventory, higher prices for new vehicles, a limited supply of used vehicles and an increased dealer interest in used-vehicle operations.

"People are having to pay for a rate for something that is truly not consistent with the actual condition of their own vehicle," said Rep. Patrick Flannery (R-District 96). For the 2022 legislative session, Flannery filed House Bill 6, which would decrease the car assessment standard to help save Kentucky drivers money.

Sen. Jimmy Higdon (R-District 14) has also filed a bill for this session, Senate Bill 75, which freezes the value of a personal car, so this year's assessed value would be the same as last year's.

"I don't think the state should benefit in a bump," Higdon said.

RELATED: 'It's like every car is a Ferrari right now' | Used car values soar amid inventory shortage

The lawmakers said they are hopeful to get the legislation passed quickly so consumers aren't stuck with a larger bill.

"It's nice to have revenue, but not at the expense of a surprise tax," said Higdon.

Both HB 6 and SB 75 also include a provision for reimbursements Wednesday, FOCUS asked Governor Andy Beshear about the bills filed in both the House and the Senate concerning the car tax. Gov. Beshear said he would consider whatever would come across his desk, but it's too early to the process to commit to anything. "I want to make sure that we're ultimately being fair to Kentucky families and we'd look at whether that relief is helping the people that need it the most, but we'd be happy to look and review either of them (the bills)." for those who have already paid their car taxes for 2022.

In response to alleged social media claims, Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday that his administration did not increase the car tax. 

Thursday, FOCUS asked the governor about the bills filed in both the House and the Senate concerning the car tax. Gov. Beshear said he would consider whatever would come across his desk, but it's too early to the process to commit to anything. 

"I want to make sure that we're ultimately being fair to Kentucky families and we'd look at whether that relief is helping the people that need it the most, but we'd be happy to look and review either of [the bills]," he said. 

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