Saturday, August 02, 2008

Company sues state over cap on license fees

Apparently, there is no end to greed.

Associated Press reports Bearing Point, a Virginia company that won a contract with the Missouri Department of Revenue to provide a new computer system for driver's license records, is suing to stop a new law that put a cap on the amount people could be charged for copies of those records.

Bearing Point landed the lucrative contract shortly after hiring the governor's brother, Andrew Blunt, as its lobbyist. After the company was hired, the Department of Revenue began charging exorbitant amounts to help cover the cost of the expensive project:

The suit -- BearingPoint Inc. vs. Missouri, 08AC-CC00612 -- filed by BearingPoint Inc. is another round in the wrangling that has followed the Missouri Department of Revenue's decision to begin charging $7 per driver's license or motor vehicle record. Previously, it cost a fraction of a cent per record for bulk purchases.

Businesses regularly buy the records to track vehicle histories and traffic violations and in turn sell that information to used car dealers, consumers, insurance companies and other entities.

Since the record fee was increased May 1, a state trial judge blocked the higher fees for bulk record purchases after four companies sued, and lawmakers have responded by establishing a one-half of a cent price limit per record for bulk purchases.

The legislative price cap was added earlier this year to property tax legislation and has already been signed by the governor. It takes effect Aug. 28.

But BearingPoint, in a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Cole County, contends the price limit is unconstitutional because it wrongly mixes multiple subjects within the same bill. The lawsuit asks the court to toss out that provision.

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