Representatives Cole (D) and Coates (D) just filed a bill that would prevent North Carolina from participating in Real ID. The bill rightly refers to Real ID as an unfunded federal mandate, but then comically goes on to say that “compliance with the provisions of the REAL ID Act of 2005 will result in a fiscal cost that the State cannot afford.”
Who are they kidding? The total cost to implement Real ID for North Carolina has been put at $20 million — this represents 1/10 of the $200 million in pork barrel spending the General Assembly approved last session. Indeed, $20 million is 0.01 percent of the current state budget.
The Department of Homeland Security is providing $360 million to assist states in implementing Real ID. Moreover, identity theft costs U.S. citizens some $68 billion a year.
I encourage folks to have genuine dialogue over the merits of Real ID — but saying the state can’t afford the $20 million Real ID might cost is simply not true. What do you think? Is Real ID worth it?