By Senator Mark Grisanti
Recently, the State Department of Motor Vehicles announced a plan to save money on the printing of New York Drivers’ licenses. After 16 years with the same company in England, a bidding process was conducted to find a cheaper option.
However, in the end, the State chose an Ottawa-based company whose bid was almost $38 Million higher than the company presently operating the program. In addition, it has been reported that the new licenses will be printed in black and white, not color. There is a concern that this change will make the licenses more susceptible to forgery and perhaps incompatible with Homeland Security’s Enhanced Drivers Licenses that serve as an alternative to passports at some border crossing spots.
As Western New Yorkers many of us have taken advantage of and purchased Enhanced Drivers Licenses. So we the taxpayers get less and pay more. This makes absolutely no sense to me. That is why I instantly called Lieutenant Governor Bob Duffy to discuss my displeasure with this decision and he assured me he would look into this.
This plan does not sit right with me nor the people of Western New York. I find it an outrage in light of our already tight budget and our need to find every penny available to help those victims of Super Storm Sandy. Not only should we have found a cheaper solution but how about turning to and supporting a local company? That is why I am looking to create legislation to encourage the State of New York to hire and contract with New York companies first, if those companies meet the appropriate requirements and qualifications.
I believe we have great local options like Eastman Kodak in Rochester that possesses the capability to take digital pictures in color and print out licenses. I am sure if given the opportunity for a new State DMV contract they could find a way to produce a quality product at a reasonable rate while hiring local workers.
How could outsourcing to Canada be the only option? Not only are the other bidders in the process presently suing the DMV for being arbitrary in its award guidelines but our New York State Comptroller is also reviewing these bids, which mean that this contract has not been “finalized” so there is still some hope for relief to the taxpayers.
I support incentivizing New York business to be done by New Yorkers employed by New York State companies. I think we should improve our guidelines for state contracts to support local businesses and workers and stop outsourcing to other states and countries. The State DMV should find another option that is cheaper, preferably in New York State, but at the very least American.