Thinking About Use of Technology

Why are we not surprised at state Revenue Secretary Dave Hardy’s explanation for why processing of some West Virginians’ income tax returns was delayed?

You guessed it: technology — or, rather, failure to make it work –is blamed.

Hardy told MetroNews this week that a new scanning machine did not handle the job of processing paper tax returns correctly. He added that, “we’re not very happy about that and it has put a lot of strain on a lot of good people” in the tax department. “We’ve had teams of people in there working overtime, all hours of the day and night, to catch up.”

State government too often seems to struggle with new technology, often at substantial cost to taxpayers. There must be a better way.

Legislators should be looking into how new technology is purchased and managed by state government. To be frank, one wonders sometimes whether officials are being taken advantage of by sales people who may be more interested in hearing the cash register than in whether their products are what the state needs.

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