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Letter to the Editor: Revenue director clarifies issues

Friday, August 5, 2005

To the editor:

As the director of the Missouri Department of Revenue, I am pleased to respond to your Aug. 2 editorial on the REAL ID act.

To clarify, the new driver's licensing requirements are not a result of federal legislation called the REAL ID Act. Rather, they are the result of state legislation (Senate Bill 1233) signed into law by former Gov. Bob Holden effective July 1.

I'm not certain what new information has been discovered regarding what you called the department's "failure to implement a new computer system." While the Holden administration spent years and $17 million to do nothing with $2 million in computer equipment it unwisely purchased -- and the state auditor failed to "find" the equipment in a 2002 audit -- it has taken just months for this administration to put a plan in place to use that equipment. The auditor missed these computers after months of auditing. I discovered them before even taking office.

As we are doing with other new requirements, the department will fully review the changes that will be required to comply with the REAL ID Act and do our best to implement them in a manner that keeps in mind our primary goals: to provide excellent customer service, to follow the law and to be a good steward of the taxpayers' dollars.

I want Missourians to trust state government. By changing, improving and correcting the mistakes of the past, I hope to restore that trust in short order.

TRISH VINCENT, Director, Missouri Department of Revenue, Jefferson City, Mo.