Dayton defends licensing system amid ongoing complaints

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton said Tuesday that problems with the state’s new computer system for vehicle licensing and registration have been overstated by his Republican critics.

The new system replaced 30-year-old technology when it went on line last summer. But complaints soon followed.

Dayton told reporters that the rollout wasn’t perfect. But he stressed that the vast majority of transactions have gone smoothly throughout the state. He accused Republican lawmakers of collecting and spreading anecdotal information to paint a more troubling picture.

“Republican legislators are just delighted to jump on something if they think they can do damage to the credibility of state government, especially with a Democratic governor,” Dayton said

But at the same time Dayton was talking, Deputy Legislative Auditor Judy Randall was telling a panel of lawmakers that problems with the system persist. Randall said the biggest concern is the accuracy of the transactions, including how much people are charged.

“Sometimes it’s just a dollar difference, sometimes its hundreds of dollars difference,” Randall said. “But when you multiply that over the large number of transactions that are occurring that adds up to a decent amount of money.”

Randall told members of the Legislative Audit Commission that the office is planning a thorough examination of licensing and registration transactions, once the system if fully functioning.

Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake, urged Randall not to wait too long.

“When you say we’re going to wait until it’s fully rolled out, I have no confidence in the fully rolled out,” Kiffmeyer said. “I think you’re going to be waiting a long time.”