Chicago Milks Motorists to Defeat Deficit
Just in time for football season, Chicago’s municipal Revenue Department gives “ticket scalping” a whole new meaning. The Tribune reports that during 2006, the city generated over $210m in fines from traffic and parking citations. That’s almost four years’ worth of Bears ticket sales, and, serendipitously, about equal to the city’s anticipated 2008 budget deficit. In a “sales” performance that would impress even the NFL, parking ticket revenues have soared 60 percent. Since 2000, the number of vehicles getting the (Denver) boot has increased 20 percent. The City also recently invested $1.5m to outfit a brigade of 26 vans with plate-recognition technology to track down additional clamping candidates, while new stop light cameras promise to fatten city coffers by another $17.5m next year. With this
blatant money grab intense interest in public safety affixing such a prominent bull’s eye on the wallets of American motorists, one has to wonder what other not-so-hidden driving taxes could possibly be next. Speed cameras? Congestion charges? CO2 taxes? The mind boggles.
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