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The California Taxpayers Association has concluded that proposed legislation to permit car dealers to raise document-handling fees does not violate Proposition 26 -- and the group is taking no position on the bill.

CalTax initially had concerns that Assembly Bill 1215 -- part of which would allow car dealers to hike their handling charges from $55 to $80 -- might violate the voter-approved ballot measure that restricts the state from raising various fees without a two-thirds vote of the Legislature.

"After reviewing AB 1215, we determined that the fee discussed in the legislation is a private-party transaction that the state is regulating," spokesman David Kline said in a written statement. "Therefore, AB 1215 does not represent a state-imposed fee, and does not violate Proposition 26."

Anthony Matthews, spokesman for Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield, the Woodland Hills Democrat who crafted the measure, said that state coffers would receive no portion of any increase in handling charges.

AB 1215 would allow dealers to increase their document-processing fee for both new- and used-car sales, beginning in July 2012.

For consumers, the bill would require dealers when selling a used car to obtain a report from the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System, a federally mandated vehicle history database. A sticker would be posted to notify buyers of vehicles that had been junked, salvaged, or branded as flooded, rebuilt or non-repairable in years past.

AB 1215 also would require dealers to register cars electronically through the Department of Motor Vehicles, a provision that is designed to speed up the registration process.

Blumenfield's measure is under consideration by the Senate Appropriations Committee. An earlier version of the bill was approved by the Assembly, 75-3.



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