Gov. Dannel P. Malloy speaks to the press in Wethersfield. Mark Pazniokas /
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy speaks to the press in Wethersfield.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy speaks to the press in Wethersfield. Mark Pazniokas /

Wethersfield — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy wants to help the beleaguered Department of Motor Vehicles by getting the agency out of the municipal debt collection business and by expanding transactions that can be done at private businesses like AAA offices.

“We’re not a collection agency,” Malloy told reporters Tuesday. “I think this idea we should be everyone’s collection agency is one of the things that contributes to the difficulties in Connecticut. You go to the motor vehicle department, you wait in line, you get up there, somebody tells you you can’t register your car.”

Under current law, residents cannot register a motor vehicle if they owe property taxes or unpaid parking tickets to a municipality – a strong incentive to pay municipal debts in a state where most residents are reliant on automobiles.

The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities says it finds the proposal “very problematic.”

“It would diminish both property tax revenues and ticket revenues for the towns – revenue that the towns depend on to pay for essential services,” said Kevin Maloney, a spokesman for CCM. “Residents have an obligation to pay these taxes and fees to help ensure that towns can meet their service needs.”

The governor spoke to reporters after an unrelated event a few blocks from the DMV headquarters in Wethersfield, but his administration proposed the changes in an early-morning press release.

His legislation, “An Act Decreasing Wait Times at the DMV,” was proposed as the administration tries to address long waiting times and technical issues related, in part, to problems with a new $25 million computer system.

Malloy, a former mayor of Stamford, was unsympathetic to the impact the bill may have on municipal revenues.

“I want shorter lines,” Malloy said. “What’s the core function of the motor vehicles department? Is it to give a license? Is it to register a car? Is it to have people be as safe as possible? Or is it to collect a $50 ticket?”

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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