Sorry... Just saw that message about a tag costing $277 a year.... ( sounds like a commercial plate to me..)
No, was not a commercial plate. It was a legitimate mororhome plate.
In MN, RV license taxes based on weight. Passenger, non-commercial vehicle license taxes are based on age or value or something else. I was paying $39 to license my pickup (the only good think Jackass Ventura did for this state) which I drive 20K miles a year. I was paying $279 to license my RV (Jackass didn't own an RV, but I understand personal watercraft are really cheap to register now) which I drive maybe 5K a year. The state statutes allow any vehicle over 20 years old to be licensed as a collector vehicle if it's "used for collector purposes" and you have another vehicle licensed for every day use. There's no definition on what constitutes "used for collector purposes", but I challenge anyone to argue that we do anything different with our buses than a guy building a '57 chevy does. We take them to shows (we call them rallys) and give tours to all our friends. We have clubs we belong to. We have dedicated web forums to discuss our buses. We drive them around the neighborhood swelling with pride. See the similarities here?
The law in MN does not exclude motorhomes from obtaining collector plates, but the people in the state office have decided that motorhomes don't (or shouldn't) qualify, presumably because it cheats them out of all that extra tax revenue. So on initial application, they reject it with a brief explaination that motorhomes don't qualify (but they don't refund all your money). However, when pressed, if you can actually get them to answer the phone (there's a trick to that, too, but that's another story), they can't point to anything in the law that excludes motorhomes, and eventually, they have to give in and issue the collector plate registration because they have no basis on which to deny it. But, the next time someone goes in to register their bus conversion as a collector vehicle, guess what? Denied. I even tried to get an opinion about the law from the State Attorney General, but guess what, they don't work for us "citizens" and are prohibited by law from offering an opinion about the law to a private citizen. You read that right. They represent the state, not the people. Their job is to represent the state in a lawsuit and would offer an opinion to the motor vehicles division only if asked to do so by the motor vehicles division, but there's no way you can get the motor vehicles division to ask for that opinion unless you sue the state. Ya gotta love government! Of the people, by the people, certainly not for the people!
It actually got to be pretty comical talking to the woman at the state office because when she finally called me back to tell me that they had approved it, she told me that, "Yes, your bus conversion does qualify for collectors plates, but if you take it to your rallys, and sleep in it, you could be ticketed because then it falls under the definition of a motorhome." "Huh? You just told me that RVs qualify for collector plates." "Yes, they do, but if you sleep in it, then it falls under the definition of a motorhome, and you could be ticketed if you sleep in it." I led her around this circle of logic a couple of times and gave up. Then she said, "You do know that if you registered it as a bus, you can still get collectors plates?" Long pause.... "Are you telling me that if I registered it as a bus, and put collector plates on it, and took it to a rally and slept in it, that would be legal, but registering it as a motorhome and sleeping in it is not legal?" "That's right." I didn't even try to unwrap that thought pattern, but I did have to ask, "But wouldn't I then need a CDL to drive it?", to which she replied, "Yes, you would." Yeah, I'll consider that..... for about 1/2 a second!
What's even more interesting is the new registration doesn't have anything on it that says it's a motorhome or RV.
Every state is different in how their laws are written regarding licensing and how they are interpreted by those in the state offices. Some states have mileage restrictions. Some have other limitations. You have to understand your own states laws and be willing to fight for a proper interpretation. However, because of reciprocity, if it's legal in the state where you live and register it, then it's accepted in all other states.