Pence announces new BMV commissioner, reveals new overcharges

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INDIANAPOLIS (Feb. 2, 2015) – Gov. Mike Pence announced a major overhaul of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles Monday, after the BMV admitted it overcharged Hoosier taxpayers again, this time $2 million dollars in mistaken taxes and fees.

BMV Commissioner Don Snemis will be replaced by Kent Abernathy, who’s currently chief of staff at the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. Snemis will take a new position at the state’s Family and Social Services Administration.

Pence said an ongoing internal audit revealed the BMV overcharged nearly 30,000 Hoosiers about $2 million over a six-year period. Charges included delinquent fees for mobile and manufactured homes, reinstatement fees and other miscellaneous taxes and fees involving antique motor vehicles and wheel taxes.

Monday’s addition brings the total to more than $60 million in overcharges dating back to 2013.

“My goal is simple,” Pence said. “I want to make the back office at the BMV work as well as the front office.”

Pence also revealed the BMV undercharged taxpayers about $13 million, which he said the state will not work to recoup.

“It’s all just evidence of the fact this is a system often times that is so complicated and confusing that the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing,” Pence said. “And we’re going to fix that.”

Beyond leadership changes, Pence said a new internal audit department will be created inside the BMV and report independently to the State Board of Accounts. Pence is also working with lawmakers to pass legislation streamlining BMV fees and clarifying statute of limitations for legal action related to overcharges.

“Clearly mistakes have been engrained into the system,” Pence said. “But we’re rooting those out. We’re rooting those out systematically and the people of Indiana should have every confidence this is going to be the year we make a fundamental change in the back office.”

Pence said affected Hoosiers can expect refunds to be implemented in the next two weeks, adding the internal audit by accounting firm BKD should be complete this spring.

“It’s important to know there could be more,” Pence said referring to mistakes. “Our review is ongoing.”

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