By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A new report on the troubled Minnesota Licensing and Registration System (MNLARS) says thousands of Minnesotans have been either over-charged or under-charged for vehicle registrations.

MNLARS is the state vehicle licensing system that went into effect in 2017. It has been plagued with glitches that have caused delays and problems.

The report says the error rate on vehicle registration assessments is as high as 72 percent.

The Ford F-150 truck has an assessed value of $39,000. But the study found that under the MNLARS system, there were 130 different bases values assessed to the truck ranging from just $2 to $70,000.

The owner with the $2 assessment obviously underpaid for their registration, with the person who had the higher value is being assessed $1,900 more than they owed.

GOP State Senator Mary Kiffmeyer says MNLARS has already cost the state more than $100 million.

“Our Minnesota people are either being undercharged or overcharged they can’t have confidence in their own system,” Kiffmeyer said.

With all 134 seats in the Minnesota House up for election this November, MNLARS problems are expected to be a major issue in the November Minnesota legislative elections.

Humprey School Professor Larry Jacobs said, “MNLARS plays perfectly into the Republican criticism of the Dayton administration — big government that doesn’t work well.”

Congressman Tim Walz, the democrat hoping to succeed Gov. Mark Dayton, issued a statement distancing himself from MNLARS. He called the results spelled out in the report “unacceptable.”

Governor Mark Dayton’s office referred all comment to the State’s IT services.

In a statement the agency said: “The vast majority of inaccuracies … are not the result of a malfunctioning MNLARS IT system. Rather, they largely reflect differences in interpretation of statute, human error in data entry, and the misalignment between unique Minnesota laws and automotive industry practices.”

The report contains a series of recommendations, including helping people to determine if they have been overcharged and how they might be reimbursed. Another recommendation is a proposed change in the way base rate prices of vehicles in Minnesota are calculated.

The report did find that MNLARS generally calculated certain types of transactions in a correct manner, “such as wheelage tax, sales tax, and most license plate transactions.”

Esme Murphy


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