Archive for the ‘NCSL’ Category

National ID bashing with Cato’s,

Jim Harper

Returning to the CBO’s assessment of state costs

“The bill would repeal the requirements of the REAL ID Act and replace them with more flexible requirements for issuing compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards.”

This is true in some respects, and not in others. As I noted before, PASS ID is on a tighter implementation schedule which is the main driver of costs.

“The bill also would authorize appropriations that could be used to pay for those requirements, and it would prohibit the federal government from charging fees to states to access the SAVE and SSOLV data systems.”

Because it’s federal, this is something that CBO actually knows about, and its assessment is that PASS ID would dole out a total of $123 million to states over the next five years. Washington, D.C.’s highest spending year would be fiscal 2013, in which it would spend $39 million, less than $1 million per state.

And those savings when the federal government doesn’t charge states for using its databases? Just $2 million each year in fiscal 2010 and 2011.

Nothing in the CBO estimate changes the conclusion that implementing a national ID would cost states over $10 billion dollars, as they hired new staff, acquired new equipment and systems, and marched 250 million Americans through their DMVs. The federal government is promising to dole out $123 million and offer states a whopping $4 million in savings on data access.

The National Governors Association’s argument that PASS ID reduces costs to states is ludicrous. And the paltry funds Congress might share with states is a drop in the bucket. The homeland security appropriations bill for fiscal 2010 cuts funding for REAL ID by $40 million from its 2009 funding level. PASS ID would fare no better.

State governors and legislatures that have fallen for the PASS ID cost estimates of the National Governors Association and National Conference of State Legislatures should fire these financial advisors. NGA and NCSL are trying to grow federal power at the expense of state coffers.

Pass ID is expected to retain many elements of Real ID, such as requiring a digital photograph, signature and machine-readable features such as a bar code, The Washington Post reported in June. States also will still need to verify applicants’ identities and legal status by checking federal immigration, Social Security and State Department databases. One concern is that states, after footing the bill to set up these national ID programs, may also have to pay ongoing fees to continue accessing these databases (anywhere from five to 50 cents per transaction), Molly Ramsdell, senior policy director of the NCSL’s state-federal relations division, said during Wednesday’s briefing.

But Pass ID would eliminate the need for states to create new databases linked through a national data hub that would allow all states to store and cross-check such information, according to the Post. Pass ID would also cut the requirement that motor vehicle departments verify birth certificates with originating agencies.

If Pass ID becomes law, Homeland Security would have nine months to write new regulations, and states would have five years to reissue all licenses, with completion expected in 2016. (The Real ID program would have achieved this by the end of 2017.) :::MORE HERE:::