DMV is a car wreck, don’t blame towns
CT Post, February 12, 2016
State legislators need to crumple up and throw right back at him Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s proposal to end the requirement that Connecticut residents pay car taxes —and parking tickets — before they can re-register their vehicles.
The governor is clearly more rattled by the potential political ramifications from disgruntled voters in line at motor vehicle offices than he is in making life even tougher for municipalities by hollowing out one of their revenue sources.
Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, for instance, estimated his city could lose $2 million annually and Bridgeport officials were looking at an early estimate of $1 million. “It’s a bad idea,” the mayor said with uncharacteristic understatement.
If the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is in shambles, this cockamamie plan to let delinquent car tax payers — and parking ticket scofflaws — off the hook is doubly pointless: It’s not going to solve the problem of lines at DMV offices, and it’s going to put thumbscrews on the state’s cities.
The governor’s proposal contains at least one good idea: expanding the use of AAA offices to include registrations. As it stands now, a person in need of a license or ID card renewal, can avoid the hassle of a DMV office by going to any of 16 AAA offices around the state.
DMV and new computer system back to top
A trip to a DMV office has always been cause for mild depression. The disastrous installation of a new computer system last summer forced a four-day shut down of the department and — can you believe it? — longer lines when the department reopened.
Ayala brought the skill set of a Bridgeport school teacher and former state legislator to the $160,000-a-year job as head of an agency that employs some 600 people and has a $70 million budget. A good political move, perhaps, but really?
Ayala’s year in office was a car wreck: Among other things, the computer snafu and the erroneous revocation of registrations of drivers who supposedly did not have — but in fact did have — motor vehicle insurance.
The registration renewal forms of people who owe back car taxes are clearly marked that the registration will not be processed until the taxes are paid. The governor’s contention that long lines at DMV offices are caused by people who learn only when they get to the counter that they owe back taxes, and then have to come back a second time, is pretty shaky.
There’s plenty of ground to examine in looking for ways to improve the DMV. Hiring based on qualificiations other than patronage would be a good starting point. We don’t suppose that $25 million computer system could still be contributing to delays, do we?
Punishing the state’s communities be removing the only hammer they have to collect car taxes and parking ticket revenue is unfair and nonsensical.