Wes Duplantier / New Haven Register

The tax collection system that the Department of Motor Vehicles currently operates is inefficient and part of the problem everyone wants to avoid at the DMW — wait times. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s DMV reform bill is a common sense step in fixing the issue and modernizing the DMV.

Auto dealers are not tax collectors, but today’s regulations make it so we have to take on this role. Auto dealers are often placed in the uncomfortable situation of telling customers they can’t leave with their cars until they get their taxes sorted out. The customers, not surprisingly, get upset when they are told of these issues, often not knowing they had a property tax issue to begin with.

The main issue with the current system is the clearing of delinquencies. Lines at the DMV add up because people have to make multiple trips to get their issues resolved. Vehicles with delinquent property taxes and parking tickets cannot be registered, and when they are paid, they aren’t resolved overnight. The Connecticut Automotive Retailers Association surveyed its dealers and found many municipalities refuse to follow the existing law that states the tax collector should clear delinquencies immediately. Rather, the officials are taking upward of two weeks to clear the issues, placing the blame on customers not paying their taxes on time and saying they’re too busy to deal with them now.

Everyone in this system has their own responsibilities — the general population needs to pay their taxes, the tax collectors need to ensure that happens, the dealerships sell cars, and the DMV registers them. The Governor’s bill will provide structure so that these responsibilities are not overlapping.

Just because this is the way we have operated for many years does not make it right, organizations like the DMV and tax collectors need to evolve. This is what the public wants to see through support of this bill.

David Stevens is owner of Stevens Ford of Milford, Conn., which is a member of one of CTNewsJunkie’s sponsor organizations, the Connecticut Automotive Retailers Association. Learn more at DrivingCT.com

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