Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Don't cut the budget; write more tickets!

From Crimes, Guns and Videotape
Chicago’s Government Rules by Extortion
Chicago, IL—Chicago’s politicians and their appointed bureaucrats are dismayed by the decrease in traffic fine revenue. The outgunned, undermanned, demoralized and endangered Chicago cops can’t protect Chicago’s citizens but city officials want cops to bring them bags of cash.

The Chicago Sun Times released internal city documents that detail the decrease in traffic fines and stepped up efforts to threaten the jobs of cops that seem reluctant to become full time revenue agents.
Read the rest here

Traffic enforcement has always been a source of revenue for cities. I can remember when I was still young that whenever contract negotiations were going badly, the city cops would slow down ticket writing. Now that cities are bleeding revenue but generally unwilling to cut budgets the cities are looking to traffic tickets as a panacea. So, while I generally agree with the position Mr. Huebl is taking, traffic law is, and always has been, a cash cows for city governments.

Chicago isn't the only city trying to milk the citizenry for even more money than they already do. For example, some cities in California have been citing drivers under a Municipal Code rather than State Vehicle Code because, in the former case, all the money goes straight to the city while in the latter the city only gets a percentage.
"The City of Roseville gets a small slice of fines from state courts," Doane said. "We’re enforcing these laws, but a very small sliver comes back to the city. The city gets 15 percent of a Vehicle Code fine, which for a typical $207 fine comes to $32.50. This way, 100 percent of the [$100 local fine] comes back to the general fund."

A few more examples from around the country:

Virginia Hands Out 6996 Traffic Tickets In One Weekend In An Effort To Raise Revenue For The State Government

Speed Trap: More Traffic Tickets in Cash-Strapped Cities

Speeders on strapped cities' radar

Even more here

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