Just two days ago, we published an article discussing the desire of what seems like a multitude of legislators to override Governor Doug Burgum’s veto of Senate Bill 2244. This, of course, is the bill proposing to double commercial and noncommercial driver’s licenses from $15 to $30. Well, today the Senate took action to override the veto by a vote of 41-4.
The only Senator to stand in opposition to the override was Senator Oley Larsen (R – District 3). Larsen stood and correctly reminded his colleagues that these increases will come out of the pockets of the taxpayer and rightly pointed out that the money is already there if the Legislature would just pull back in some other areas— meaning our citizenry is overtaxed already and the government needs to be more efficient.
I found Senator Michael Dwyer’s (R – District 47) comments somewhat intriguing. He argued that this bill is really more about transportation than it is about driver’s license fees. Dwyer went on to share statistics about the need for matching funds from the federal government for infrastructure projects and how using $5.5 million from the Highway Tax Distribution Fund to close the gap for driver’s license shortfalls might affect those federal dollars.
Senator Dwyer is new, but I wonder how he feels about the $4.7 million that have been funneled off for unconstitutional ethanol subsidies from the same fund in previous biennium’s? In fact, isn’t it kind of silly for a legislative body who approved of those unconstitutional subsidies in the past to now complain about a similar dollar amount being used for driver’s license fees? What message does that send?
If all things were equal — meaning the State wasn’t taxing and spending too much, the driver’s license department was at peak efficiency, and we knew exactly how much these licenses cost the state — I’d be sympathetic to a fee increase myself, if it were needed. But this isn’t the case. So, increasing these fees only means that the Legislature gets to hit our pocketbooks for more than they should. And I find that unacceptable.
The bill will now move on to the House for consideration. Unless some Representatives in that body change their votes, they have all they need to complete the override and raise driver’s license fees on North Dakotans.
PLEASE LIKE & SHARE!