Missouri lawmakers blast fee offices as ‘pay-to-play’ scheme

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Missouri lawmakers are trying to change a Department of Revenue practice of awarding certain contracts partially based on how much money is promised to come back to the state.

Democratic state Sen. Gina Walsh said Thursday it’s a “pay-to-play scheme”

Businesses and nonprofits run offices that issue vehicle and driver’s licenses and collect a fee for each transaction. Missouri in part awards contracts to run the offices based on how much of the resulting profits bidders promise to give back to the state.

Department of Revenue spokeswoman Michelle Gleba says the system is objective and competitive.

Walsh is one of several lawmakers crafting legislation to ban that practice. She says it threatens nonprofits that instead keep the money from license fees in local communities.