The California Department of Motor Vehicles is warning lawmakers that Californians could experience longer wait times if it doesn’t get more money from a special budget boost it requested. The budget request was submitted by the DMV last week for $40.4 million to keep its offices operating with fairly short wait times. According to the DMV, the special budget boost will help sustain the progress that the department achieved after complaints last summer regarding the long delays people experienced statewide. Apparently, lawmakers will have a month to consider the DMV’s request before wait times become longer again. Assemblyman Jim Patterson stated the following regarding the DMV,
DMV insiders tell me that all the money in the world won’t fix the systemic problems facing this department. Until the computer systems are upgraded, we are throwing taxpayer money away and California drivers will pay for it.
The DMV claims that the $40.4 million is needed to keep the 780 employees that the department hired last year after it received an additional $63.6 million to its budget to hire those employees. The newly requested special budget boost would also help to hire 120 retired state workers for part-time positions. The DMV has about 8,300 employees and a $1.2 billion budget. With the $63.6 million additional funding that the department received last year, it was also able to hire 119 additional “emergency” hires and it recruited 109 retired state workers. The increase in employees is also a response to the federal mandate that California must comply with a 2005 law that requires citizens to have Real ID cards by Oct. 1, 2020. People must have the cards by that date if they want to board planes and enter other federal facilities without a passport. California only issued out about 2.5 million Real ID cards in 2018 out of the estimated 22.5 million more that need to be given out, so we will have to wait and see if the special budget boost is approved or denied.