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Governor’s Budget Would Bring IT Funding, Overall Cut to DMV

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s 2024-2025 fiscal year state budget would decrease the Department of Motor Vehicles’ budget overall but provide more than $18 million for three areas of technology work.

The California state Capitol building on a sunny day.
California state Capitol
Like the state technology department, one of California’s most public-facing entities would also face cuts from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed 2024-2025 fiscal year state budget.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) would see its portion of Newsom’s proposed budget decline by nearly 8 percent, from $1.56 billion to $1.44 billion, if lawmakers and the governor were to simply enact the budget, released last week, without expected changes. (All numbers in this article are rounded.) But Newsom’s $291.5 billion budget does include funding for three key IT initiatives, which the DMV has sought via budget change proposals (BCPs):

  • $7.5 million and 21 positions in FY 2024-25 for a Real ID Automated Document Verification Program (RADVP). That matches the DMV’s ask in its BCP of $7.5 million from the Motor Vehicle Account in the new fiscal year — but the DMV also seeks $5.5 million during FY 2025-26 and ongoing to support Real ID document verification (RADV) and the ABBYY processes, ahead of the May 7, 2025, federal Real ID deadline. Currently, Real ID document verification is used by about 40 percent of all residents who are issued a Real ID compliant driver license or ID card. In 2022, the DMV reviewed more than 4.7 million Real ID documents, using ABBYY’s FlexiCapture software platform to automate authentication. The department has a 55 percent auto-recognition and approval process for 47 different document types, with documents that are suspect or unable to be validated going to manual review. The percentage of successful applicants rose from 28 percent to 45 percent in 2022 and currently, about 16.9 million eligible residents have a Real ID. But roughly 7 million more Californians are expected to get a Real ID, and the department has expanded use of the RADV technology stack, which needs continued support as the DMV moves toward digital transformation. The temporary positions funded in the project’s original BCP aren’t enough to support the tech stack, its maintenance and operations.
  • $7.4 million for cybersecurity. That’s precisely what the DMV seeks in FY 2024-25 — although in its BCP, the department also seeks $7.3 million in FY 2025-26, and $4.9 million in FY 2026-27 and ongoing. The funding would also pay for IT security consulting services and IT security tools to improve the cybersecurity program, enabling the DMV to strengthen cybersecurity measures, per the BCP, expand staff capabilities, reduce risk exposure, address areas where there are compliance gaps with state-mandated security requirements, and remediate security audit findings. The BCP, it said, lines up with Cal-Secure initiatives on improving the DMV’s cybersecurity defense posture and reducing risk exposure. The DMV’s risk exposure currently is rated moderate, per the BCP, but its existing resources are “insufficient to meet, implement, and maintain required services and capabilities to protect and secure DMV information assets.” And as the department moves toward a more modern IT infrastructure, its security risks are expected to rise beyond the reach of its Information Security Services Branch’s existing resources.
  • $3.3 million for enterprise content management (ECM). That’s nearly identical to the $2.3 million for contracted project costs and $995,000 for five temporary IT positions in FY 2024-25 from Motor Vehicle Account funds, sought in a BCP, to continue implementation and support for the ECM system. Continuing implementation in FY 2024-25 will include consolidating document resources, maintaining and managing a centralized repository, and applying a federated model to integrate multiple content repositories. The project will enable the DMV to consolidate document resources via a central repository that integrates with existing department systems and streamline business processes while increasing data security. The DMV’s existing document management systems are inefficient and slow and inhibit its need to meet growing demands, according to the BCP. A federated ECM model will connect data in siloed case management systems and repositories, improving document management efficiency and information security, as well as retrieval. The solution is also expected to be more responsive to customers and resolve challenges including manual, paper-based document handling processes, redundant document management tools, and unnecessary time spent reviewing and processing information.
Theo Douglas is Assistant Managing Editor of Industry Insider — California.