It costs no more than 40 cents per transaction for motorists to register their vehicles online, according to a survey by Andersen Consulting in March 2000. However, a traditional office visit to register or re-register a vehicle is estimated to cost anywhere from $40 to $400 per transaction.
In Massachusetts, drivers can pay traffic fines with a credit card, handle vehicle registrations and buy special license plates online. Virginians can go online to file address changes, create or buy license plates, get identification cards, replace driver's licenses, renew vehicle registrations, request administrative hearings and order copies of their Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) records.
When Alaska began its online registration program in January 1998, only about 9 percent of the renewals and personalized license plate requests occurred online or over the telephone. After three weeks of television commercials, that figure jumped to 12 percent. Bottomline, the state recouped the $300,000 budgeted for the online vehicle registration project within four months. And the DMV employees received a pay raise as a result of the money-saving efforts, according to Mark Boyer, the former commissioner of Alaskas Department of Administration.
These are great examples of smaller, smarter government. Looking for those examples and how they can apply to Texas is what e-Texas is all about.
Because Texas automobile owners register their vehicles annuallyeither in person or by mailoffering online service and payment options could generate significant time and tax savings for the state.
We recognize that moving government functions to the Internet are not a panacea. There are those who have tried such experiments and failed, and those like Alaskas Boyer who have succeeded. Thats why our e-Texas effort is consulting experts like Boyer to warn us about the potential pitfalls.
Here at the Texas Comptrollers office, we are emphasizing Internet use by making sales tax forms and some tax reporting available onlinewith plans to do more. We are implementing changes based on the e-Texas principle of using technology to transform Texas government from its traditional bricks-and-mortar foundation to a national leader that uses bytes, chips and satellite airwaves to deliver services.
Task force hearings and meetings are continuing across the state to harvest more time- and money-saving ideas. We encourage people to send us their ideas via e-mail to <email@example.com> and to follow our progress at www.e-texas.org.
CAROLE KEETON RYLANDER
Comptroller of Public Accounts