23 Dec. 2010
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A Blue-Letter Day From the NJMVC

NJDUC Had Nothing to do With This

Sadly, this isn't an "unintended" consequence, it's just one that nobody seems to have recognized.  I'll take care of that now.

New Jersey motor vehicle registration envelopes.  All sent at the same time to the same address. The New Jersey governor, Chris Christie, is making national headlines with his cost-cutting measures.  As a New Jersey taxpayer, I can't help rooting for him.  As a citizen of this often-fine state, I can't help noticing the improvements that can be made in state governance.  As a thrifty person, I can't help balancing in my alleged mind the benefits obtained by lower taxes with the inconveniences incurred by the citizens as a result of lower state spending.  The very recent saying "penny wise, 3-cent foolish" often pops into that same alleged space.  Fortunately there are plenty of potential pennies-wise without the foolishness, and, exemplified by the photo at the left, I offer the following to Mr. Christie as one of them. 

The NJ Motor Vehicle Commission is not as bad as its name implies.  I remember the old days in New York when one actually had to go to the motor vehicle office and spend a day on line to accomplish anything.  Other than the time when I actually had to set foot in an NJ office to get my "digital license," I've been transacting my business through the web.  That business is largely the annual ritual of renewing the registration of my motor vehicles.  I don't recall if I've whined here either about the necessity for so doing, or about the "convenience fee" they charge.  <mini-whine>Whose convenience?  Is it not more convenient for them to not have those irritating customers interacting with the extra clerks they'd have to hire?  They should be paying me a "convenience fee."  But never mind.</mini-whine>.  The renewal process, at least after I hit "submit," and disregarding the connotation of so doing, is remarkably efficient.  The registration is actually effective immediately, so I can print out the document and give it to the cop, should that be necessary.  It normally isn't, and the requested documents typically show up in just a few days.

In Separate Envelopes.

It so happens that I have two vehicles whose registrations coincidentally expire in the same month.  To renew them, I have to fill out an online form twice, pay two "convenience fees," and then await the receipt of four separate envelopes, one each for the two car registrations, and one each for the two "family duplicates."  That's $1.76 in postage instead of $.44 (or whatever postage is when you're reading this, assuming the postal service hasn't shut down by then).  All four envelopes are mailed from the same location, to exactly the same address, at the same time, and arrive in my mailbox all at once.  How much could the state save by putting multiple registration documents in one envelope?  Without doing research, I think it is fair to say that many and possibly most NJ vehicle owners have multiple vehicles, and probably about 15% of the owners have registrations expiring the same month.  Of those that don't, probably most need one or more duplicate registrations.  Putting it all together, my guess would be that we taxpayers could save over $5 million per year just by consolidating registration documents into fewer envelopes.  The cost of doing so would be a one-time charge for altering the programs and maybe getting new forms that can print multiple registration documents on one sheet.  They're already large enough for two. 

After my commission, that's $4.9 million available to pay for prosecution of the corrupt politicians.  (My idea for saving money there is simply to pick one county every year and indict all the mayors.  The savings on investigation and paperwork would be enormous.)

"The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down"
The Band




Today we take a brief intermission in the T-shirt parade and present the Bag of the Day.  A friend brought me something in this, and I immediately connected it with the origin of the logo.  Can you?  Did he? 

I'll find out the latter by email.  If you cheat and look it up, I'll never know.

MXYPLYZYK Bag of the Day.  Remember Mr. Mxyplyzyk?
Richard Factor

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