You’ve probably heard that California is in trouble financially. No one wants to cut services and at the same time, no one wants to pay taxes. So what do you do? Ticket ticket ticket! And raise the fines for those tickets.
In the years I’ve lived in California, I’ve never seen so much traffic enforcement. They’re radaring all over the highways. And check this out–those fancy new parking meters are capable of neat tricks. For instance, it’s pretty easy to change the hours to 8 PM. 8 PM! In Oakland. Some ticket fines have more than doubled! The linkage to the financial crisis is explicit:
Oakland has raised the price of parking tickets, extended meter times to 8 p.m. in most parts of the city and is more aggressively enforcing parking violations, including in residential neighborhoods.
The decision is driven by the city’s budget woes, which deep cuts to city services alone did not solve. Falling sales and property, property transfer and hotel taxes have contributed to a $51 million decline in revenues.
One way or another, they’re going to get this money out of us. Would you rather just pay taxes or be nickled and dimed by the police? Which, of course, raises a related issue…why limit your fee collection to speeding and parking fines? Charging people for crimes, such as DUI, may be a money maker too…