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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Paul Torkelson (R)

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RELEASE: Statement from Chair Torkelson on the MNLARS audit

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

ST. PAUL, MN—Rep. Paul Torkelson, R-Hanska, Chair of the House Transportation Finance Committee, issued the following statement regarding the audit released today by the non-partisan Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA).

"Too many Minnesotans have been getting fleeced for months by a system that has been broken for far too long. This audit finally gives us an idea of the dollars and cents literally taken from the pockets of thousands of Minnesotans who were overcharged for their vehicle taxes and fees. Worst of all, the inaccurate information has not been fixed within the system. Getting these numbers right needs to be one of the top priorities for IT officials as they continue trying to fix this fundamentally broken system."

According to the report, MNLARS has been overcharging and undercharging Minnesotans on vehicle taxes and fees. Base values, a key data point in calculating these taxes, varied widely and in some cases there were more than 100 base values for a single car type that should have had just one. The system lacked safeguards to protect the integrity of the data, including allowing users to input fewer than 17 digits for VIN numbers. In total, "MNLARS was unable to automatically retrieve the correct base value for 217 of the 310 transactions" tested by the OLA.

In one example, a 2018 Ford F-150 had 130 base values ranging from $2 to $70,000, which would have resulted in widely different calculations.

Members of the House and Senate MNLARS Steering Committee will meet tomorrow at 9:30AM in Room 200 of the State Office Building to review the audit's findings.

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