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Saturday, June 22
The Indiana Daily Student


Driving BMV investigations forward

Everyone hates going to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles in Indiana.

There’s always a long line, the attendant is less than enthused to see you and everyone in the waiting area is coughing for some reason that’s probably contagious.

You usually leave feeling a little accomplished for conquering what was sure to be the worst part of your day.

Unfortunately, recent events have come to light that show us that we may have more reasons to hate the BMV than we originally thought.

Since 2004, according to BMV Commissioner Don Snemis, the BMV has been overcharging Indiana motorists in excise tax.

These overcharges total more than $29 million from about 180,000 Indiana ?motorists.

The BMV stated that its automatic computer system didn’t apply the appropriate Consumer Price Index-based adjustment factor when calculating how much drivers owed in taxes.

This is unacceptable on the most basic levels. One of the BMV’s main purposes is to manage and levy taxes that relate to motor vehicles.

However, the BMV hasn’t just been caught overcharging motorists with excise taxes.

Last August, the BMV settled a class-action lawsuit by agreeing to refund $30 million to drivers they overcharged for operator’s licenses.

That means that, during the past year, the BMV has admitted to overcharging Hoosier drivers almost $60 million.

Former BMV Deputy Director Matthew Foley testified under oath on video that he told top BMV officials the agency was overcharging motorists.

Foley alleged the officials took no steps to refund Hoosiers due to budget concerns.

Earlier this week, the BMV requested a gag order, or an order banning the release of information to the public, regarding the taped dispositions by Foley.

The BMV is one of the most commonly recognized and utilized agencies in the state of Indiana. It serves millions of Hoosiers who should be able to trust the agency.

But it appears the BMV has been on too long of a leash for its own good. Now, the agency has tangled thousands upon thousands of Hoosiers in a complicated web of ?inaccurate charges and refunds.

The BMV, and everyone with a moderate amount of influence over the agency, should be thoroughly investigated. Foley’s allegations call into question the honesty of our state government.

Now, county governments, the main recipients of the excise tax, will face an estimated $6 million budget cut during the next two years.

The government of Indiana needs to be more transparent and more open to improvement. Otherwise, we’ll keep hurting our citizens, in more ways than one.

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