Republicans have a hard time holding their corrupt cronies in Pierre accountable. Senator David Novstrup feels skittish about holding everyday deadbeats accountable. Check out his comments to Bureau of Administration commission Jeff Holden about the state’s new debt collection—oops, sorry: obligation recovery—operation at Tuesday’s Government Operations and Audit Committee meeting. Instead of asking why a program passed by the Legislature last year and scheduled to launch April 15 still isn’t collecting money owed to the state, Senator Novstrup is worried that the state is planning to push people too hard to pay their debts:
Sen. David Novstrup, R-Aberdeen, asked Holden to provide to legislators its policy for driver licenses and Game, Fish and Parks licenses and permits being withheld from debtors.
Holden said people wouldn’t get a notification unless at least $1,000 is owed and the person hasn’t taken any action to resolve the debt.
“The process of notification is something I’m still working out between CGI and those agencies,” he said. “I can’t tell you exactly how it’s going to work.”
Novstrup said there is “a huge difference” between a hunting or fishing license and a driver license. He called losing a driver license “a pretty big hammer.”
“We’re drafting the rules now,” Holden said [Bob Mercer, “State’s Debt Center Is Almost Ready More Than a Year Late,” Mitchell Daily Republic, 2016.05.18].
Senator Novstrup joined an intriguing mix of cranky right-wingers and Democrats last winter who tried to strip the debt collection center of its power to stop folks who owe the state money from getting driver licenses, vehicle registrations, hunting and fishing licenses, and even park permits.That measure, Senate Bill 123, failed in committee. That license-blocking power is one of the few teeth remaining in the much-compromised measure that hobbled out of the Legislature last year.
Being refused a new driver license is a pretty big hammer. But a thousand dollars or more is a pretty big debt. Money owed to the state may total $54 million, almost enough to cover the Blue Ribbon teacher pay raises without the new sales tax that Senator Novstrup fecklessly tried to sabotage last March. Senator Novstrup talks about fiscal conservatism and responsibility, but when the state has a plan to hold deadbeats responsible and recover dollars without raising taxes, he balks.