ST. PAUL, MN – Despite nearly ten years of preparation and $100 million in expenses, Minnesota’s new licensing and registration system, MNLARS, has been a catastrophic failure according to State Representative Tim Miller (R-Prinsburg).
What’s worse according to Miller, who is a member of the Minnesota House Transportation Finance Committee, is that the Dayton administration is now claiming an additional $43 million is needed from the taxpayers to keep MNLARS operational, despite claims just weeks ago that no further funding would be necessary.
“The people of Minnesota deserve to receive prompt and quality services they paid for from state government,” Miller said. “I’m outraged that now the Department of Vehicle Services and MN.IT are once again placing the burden of their mistakes on taxpayers. The needed fixes will take months to years to complete, and I have little confidence that even if we handed over more resources that the people who created this mess would be able to solve the problems.”
MNLARS is the new computer program that processes titles, tabs and license plates in Minnesota. Since its rollout in July, MNLARS has been a nightmare for deputy registars’ who can’t process applications and Minnesotans who can’t obtain vehicle titles and tabs in a timely manner.
Initially the Dayton administration assured lawmakers the problems were fixable. Three weeks ago, legislators were notified that $43 million was needed to keep MNLARS afloat and that $10 million of that was needed “in the first week of session.”
Despite the repeated failures, the Dayton administration claimed to have no idea MNLARS was having problems. Yet a recent KMSP-TV investigative report found that three years ago a MNLARS analyst told the Governor’s Office directly that the program was not ready for launch, and warning signs of program failure were repeatedly ignored.
In response, lawmakers have introduced legislation that would allow the governor to reduce spending within his administration by $10 million in order to make the needed MNLARS down payment. It would give the governor authority to make reductions as determined by the Commissioner of Minnesota Management and Budget in consultation with the Legislative Advisory Commission.
Another bill is also being introduced that directs the Commissioner of Public Safety to study the feasibility of using a commercial vendor to "develop, deploy, and maintain" a system to replace MNLARS,
“Hardworking taxpayers hate government waste and incompetence, but when no one is held accountable they hate it even more,” Miller said. “We need to rebuild the trust of Minnesota citizens first by providing quality services, then holding people accountable.”