Thursday, August 09, 2012

Proposed DMV rule harms counties, auto dealers' bottom line

In a spasm of coprophagia and economic masochism, Texas' DMV board will vote today on "proposed state rule that would force Texas counties to stop accepting identification cards issued by Mexico when immigrants apply for vehicle titles," reported the Dallas Morning News yesterday (behind paywall). The move will cost counties millions and cost Texas auto dealers even more.
Dallas County Tax Assessor-Collector John Ames argues that banning the cards will result in millions of dollars in lost revenue for counties and car dealerships.
Ames based his figures on a 45-day survey of 1,900 of the county’s auto dealers that showed 10 percent of sales involved matriculas as the primary form of ID. ...
Ames said the matriculas ban would jeopardize more than $3.1 million in annual revenue — $1.8 million from registrations and $1.3 million from Dallas County’s share of sales taxes from car sales.
Throughout all the political banter over the last several years over illegal immigration, Grits has considered it borderline nuts that supposedly pro-business conservatives promote immigration policies that, if implemented, would severely damage the economy. (To their credit, that's why most of the anti-immigrant bills at the Texas Lege ultimately floundered - the state GOP has now begun to walk back their most extremist positions.) Most analyses of the impact of immigration on businesses focus on the effects of a diminished labor pool if deportations were massively stepped up. But as Henry Ford taught the country generations ago, workers are also consumers and their spending contributes significantly to the economy. A $3.1 million hit to Dallas County alone is a big number, but it's just a fraction of the cost to auto dealers and individuals selling their cars, for whom demand and thus prices will inevitably decline if these buyers are excluded.

UPDATE: The DMV board approved the rule, reported the Dallas News, but it won't take effect for one year, which gives auto dealers and county governments to lobby the Legislature next session to undo it. The Lege did not tell the DMV to create such a rule; they did it on their own and the Legislature historically exhibits animosity toward government regulations that harm large business sectors. Time will tell.


North Texas Cop said...

Matriculas are no more valid than those fake ID's we used to buy at the flea market when we were kids. You know, the ones that say "for novelty use only" on the back. It is unbelievably easy to acquire a matricula that will show your name and DOB to be pretty much whatever you want it to be. No government office should accept them as a valid form of ID.

Anonymous said...

Good on the Texas DMV for voting this in. They should have made it effective immediately.