If you own a vehicle here in Connecticut, you know the awful feeling in January and June when the car tax bill comes in the mail or your vehicle's registration or emissions test is due. For most of us, it means we have to fork over a few hundred dollars extra a couple of times a year. It sucks, but death and taxes, you know?

I know a couple of people who have skirted the system, "snowbirds", the lucky few among us who can afford to have two residences. One residence in Connecticut and one in a warmer-weather state where you can escape Connecticut's dreadful winter chill. They all had Florida, North Carolina, or Arizona license plates on their vehicles. Why? Because Florida, North Carolina, and Arizona's taxes and fees were/are a fraction of what Connecticut charges.

My hometown of Waterbury has been enforcing the out-of-state license plate rules for years. I remember back in the early 2000's(?) Waterbury PD announced that they got a couple of license plate readers that they mounted on patrol cars with the intent of finding the unregistered, out of state snowbirds. I remember a lot of people parking their cars in their garages and putting newspaper over the windows in an attempt to try and avoid the scanners.

As of October 1, Waterbury will become the first municipality in Connecticut that will start fining residents with out of state plates - to the tune of $250. The $250 fine will be waived if you register your car in CT within 90 days. Waterbury will again deploy the license plate scanners, as well as hire an independent third party to help with enforcement. Get those extra copies of the Republican-American for your windows now snowbirds.

I belong to a few Waterbury groups on Facebook and the reaction to the new enforcement campaign has been mostly positive. Most are applauding Waterbury's efforts, but still complain about how badly we're being gouged, over and over again, on something that we've already paid taxes on from the get-go.

I still think back a few years ago when the idea was floated in budgetary talks to kill Connecticut's vehicle tax. Was it just a whisper into the void? Will we ever see it go away? Until then, I'll cough up my $300 for tax, $155 for registration, and $20 for emissions. Why? Because I like my scanner invisibility.

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