Coalition launches statewide campaign to protect “freedom to drive”

A new statewide coalition born in the Antelope Valley has launched an informational campaign to oppose passage of Senate Bill 956 and Assembly bills 1534 and 1447.

The Coalition to Protect Our Freedom to Drive is comprised of area Chambers of Commerce, business associations, boards of trade, the national and state associations for independent auto dealers, state and local elected representatives, motorists and other involved citizens.

The group claims the proposed consumer protection bills ( AB 1447, AB 1534 and SB 956) will deny thousands of low-income and credit-challenged Californians the freedom to own a vehicle, damage thousands of California jobs and businesses and severely deplete revenues to local government.

The following is a news release issued by the Coalition to Protect Our Freedom to Drive:

The statewide Coalition to Protect Our Freedom to Drive [on June 6] launched an informational campaign to oppose passage of Senate Bill 956 and Assembly bills 1534 and 1447, which coalition research found  will cut off many Californians from being able to finance personal transportation.

In studying what they characterized as extreme provisions in the bills introduced in January, dealers in pre-owned automobiles discovered that they would be required to lose money on every transaction covered by the legislation. In some cases dealers said they would go out of business and in other instances dealers said they would no longer be able to finance buyers with less than perfect credit.

A Protect Our Freedom to Drive investigation found the used car market will be so severely disrupted by proposed rules that the inevitable drop in dealer sales will cut deeply into the $468 million in sales tax revenue the State Board of Equalization reported for calendar year 2011.

The Coalition to Protect Our Freedom to Drive projects that state, county and city government budgets will suffer combined annual losses in used car sales tax revenue ranging between $234 million and $374 million. That conservative estimate does not include separate declines in the state Vehicle License Fee and assorted other fees collected by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

According to the League of California Cities, sales and use taxes represent the first or second largest source of general fund revenue for cities statewide. And three cities out of five rely heavily on sales and use taxes from their unrestricted general funds to pay for police and firefighters.

The Coalition pointed out that not one of the three bills was properly analyzed for economic and budgetary consequences in the Appropriations Committee in either the Senate or Assembly.

California’s more than 9,000 dealers in pre-owned automobiles are already among the state’s more heavily regulated businesses, and the Coalition found that state regulators report consumer complaints represent under 1 percent of used car sales.

A spokeswoman for the Coalition to Protect Our Freedom to Drive said in a news release: “These three bills, if passed and signed by Governor Brown, will bring harm to the very people the bills purport to help. This legislation will also substantially reduce sales tax revenue for public safety in our cities and counties at the worst possible time, and also worsen our state’s $16 billion budget deficit.

“We are calling on all common-sense Californians to join with us in telling the authors and supporters of these bills to pull back from the brink of this pending legislative disaster. The consequences will deny tens of thousands of California even the choice of car ownership to get to work and to care for their families’ transportation needs. “

SB 956, authored by State Senator Ted Lieu, D-Redondo Beach, has passed the Senate and is now in the Assembly. AB 1534, by Assembly Member Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, is now in the Senate, along with AB 1447, authored by Assembly member Mike Feuer, D-West Hollywood.

For more information and to contact The Coalition to Protect Our Freedom to Drive visit Read the Freedom to Drive FACT SHEET here.

  6 comments for “Coalition launches statewide campaign to protect “freedom to drive”

  1. really
    June 11, 2012 at 6:54 am

    This is a tough one… I feel 17% interest is excessive, however in America we believe in free markets… If someone is dumb enough to pay 17% then so be it…. I hate these dealerships because they cater to the very element that creates a lot of problems in this valley…If you find yourself needing to pay new car payment money for a 10 year old jalopy with 100k miles then you probably arent a very responsible person…

  2. Adam Chant
    June 8, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    While there is no doubt that some used car dealerships are predatory and do need this kind of regulation at the same time you don’t get as big as Camacho Motors screwing every customer that walks through the door. They do probably make some extra $$ off the jacked up interest rates, but at the same time it’s no different than payday loans or even predatory credit cards. Limit the rate to a percentage and they will tack it on in fees elsewhere. I’m not saying don’t bother because there should be some regulation in loaning money, but don’t expect it to stop anything.
    Who posted here a sucker and his money are soon parted.. as the saying goes..
    You can’t make a law to fix stupid.

  3. ed
    June 7, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    Comacho and his used car buddies are really worried about these laws. If they pass they may all be forced to be honest business men.
    AB 1447 will require 30 days or 1,000 mile warranty. It require them to tell the buyer of a vehicle about any tracking device or an ignition shut off device on the vehicle. Prohibits seller from requiring payments in person. And more.

    SB 956, seller must disclose interest rate, the bill puts a cap of 17.25% on the interest rate.And various requirements that they should have been doing all along.

    Watch the propaganda on these bill. And watch who backs the distruction. Going to be a lot of bucks spent on these bills.

    • S. Parker
      June 7, 2012 at 9:27 pm

      I agree with you Ed. If you are charging more than 18% interest on a car loan, you should be ashamed, no matter how high risk the borrower.

      A lot of these used car/finance dealers jack up the interest to make it nearly impossible for the borrower to afford payments in the long run. Then when the inevitable default comes around, they snatch the car back and sell it to someone else.

      These are the things that need to be regulated. If these bills regulate these unsavory business practices, then it’s a good thing. I can’t see why a “coalition” would be spending money trying to oppose it, especially if they truly are looking out for the little guy as they claim to be…

      • sacryinshame
        June 8, 2012 at 12:35 am

        I think these guys only say they are looking out the little guy.
        High interest rates, combined with lousy warranty is almost always a recipe for disaster. Another way to take advantage of poor people and line their pockets. When I see Camacho Motors on a license plate, I immediatly think, credit risk. Probably someone who had to give the sales people 3 or 4 post dated checks. By the time the 2nd or 3rd check is cashed the car doesn’t work and the cycle starts over again.

      • sacryinshame
        June 8, 2012 at 1:00 am

        S Parker, for starters there already is a Coalition fighting these Bills by claiming, if passed, it will deny people the right to drive????. The Coalition does not want any of these 3 bills passed because, they argue, it will take money away from the city in the form of sales tax. Another argument is, the Coalition is supported by used car dealers and people who profit from those ridiculous interest rates charged on the car loans. The Coalition is using the scare tactic that Public Safety is at risk if these bills are passed. Nevermind these Bills are written to protect people from preditor car sales. If similar Bills had been written 10-12 yrs ago regarding the Banking and Mortgage industry, perhaps the bottom would not have fallen out of the housing market. Back then, the Coalition was arguing that would deny people the American Dream.
        The Coalition as asking people to think hard before they pass these Bills and pull back from the brink of disaster. OMG

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