STATE HOUSE – Saying they’ve received numerous complaints from constituents, Senate Minority Whip Jessica de la Cruz and members of the Rhode Island Senate Republican caucus are calling on the governor to eliminate late fees and interest penalties being assessed for Department of Motor Vehicles untimely registrations.
Taxpayers report attempting to register a new car, but being unable to secure an appointment at the DMV within the required 30-day period after purchase.
“These are taxpayers who made every effort to follow the rules and pay the required fees to register their new cars,” said de la Cruz, who represents District 23 in Burrillville, Glocester and North Smithfield. “It is not their fault, nor should they be penalized because the DMV was not able to accommodate them within 30 days.”
Rhode Islanders who were unable to schedule an appointment within 30 days found that when they were finally able to register their cars, the Department of Revenue assessed late fees and interest on those penalties. The lawmakers have requested a report on how much money has been assessed in late fees.
“The governor has the authority to suspend these fees and interest by executive order,” said Sen. Gordon Rogers, of District 21 in Coventry, Foster and Scituate. “She should have no problem penning another to abate these fees.”
The caucus has asked the governor to address this issue immediately, and to make the order retroactive to cover all late fees since mid-March.
“It’s absolutely absurd that taxpayers are being fined for the DMV’s inability to accommodate them in a timely manner,” de la Cruz said. “This issue needs to be fixed as soon as possible. So many people are facing financial challenges these days, this is a burden they shouldn’t have to carry because of the state’s failure.”
The Senate Republican caucus also includes Minority Leader Dennis Algiere, and Sens. Elaine Morgan and Thomas Paolino – who represents District 17 in Lincoln, North Providence a portion of North Smithfield.
de la Cruz, a North Smithfield resident, is serving her second term in the Senate and was elected to the position of Minority Whip by her fellow Republicans in November.