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Bipartisan criticism of new fees on businesses wanting driving records; could scrap outsourcing of “e-government”

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on April 25, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
April 25, 2013 6:17 pm

I wrote Wednesday that lawmakers were considering freezing fees for access to driving records, fees that could be crucial to state government’s plans to privatize its “e-government” services. A letter confirms there’s bipartisan consensus around preventing such fee hikes.

Democratic House Transportation Chairwoman Judy Clibborn joined her Senate counterparts, Democrat Tracey Eide and Republican Curtis King, in writing to the Office of Financial Management to say that while they support outsourcing website work to the company NIC Inc., they oppose funding it solely by charging new fees on driving records.

The lawmakers refer to an additional $2 charge that could be placed on top of the current $13 charge for driving records that are often sought by employers and insurance companies.

NIC is in negotiations with the state to take over management of its electronic transactions and the Access Washington website that is the state’s main web portal. Details are still scant, but user fees of an extra dollar or two on driving records are seen as the most likely source of funding for the company’s operations. The Senate transportation budget calls for keeping those fees from rising. And that might scuttle the deal with NIC.

UPDATE 6:15 p.m.: A deal reached on the transportation budget maintains the freeze on record fees.

Here’s the letter, which says fee hikes lead to fewer requests and less revenue instead of more:

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