NY County Admits Cameras Are For Revenue

The Newspaper
by The Newspaper
ny county admits cameras are for revenue

In a four-hundred-page review of Suffolk County, New York’s financial situation released earlier this month, officials highlight the rationale for adding automated traffic enforcement devices. “At this point the County needs to make hard decisions,” the 2009 county budget review states. “Do we raise property taxes? Do we seek state approval to raise the overall sales tax rate? …Do we raise revenue from traffic tickets by instituting red light cameras?” Yes, well, county cannot install red light cameras without first obtaining permission from the state legislature. Since 2001, Albany’s frustrated the county’s attempts to convince lawmakers in Albany to grant this authority. Photo enforcement supporters believe that support from Governor David Patterson (D) will finally deliver the changes in state law needed to begin operations. The county has even begun taking steps to establish a parking violations bureau to handle the photo tickets.

“You know, we’ve been trying to get this legislation passed forever,” Suffolk County Legislature Presiding Officer William Lindsay explained in a February meeting. “And this year it was put in the governor’s suggested legislative package, so we’re very hopeful that it will get passed… if we don’t establish the Parking Violations Bureau, we don’t get the revenue.” Another of the county’s elected lawmakers, Kate Browning, at a September meeting pointed to the reason behind the governor’s support.”What this letter (from Governor Patterson) is saying is that we could gain $3.5 million in annual revenue from the red light camera program,” Browning said.

For the past two years Suffolk County has actually included this amount in its official budget projections, expecting state lawmakers would concede to their request. This turned out to be a costly mistake. “County Executive Tom Suozzi put it in his budget last year for revenue, it never came through,” Deputy County Executive Ben Zwirn said at a September 18 meeting. “There’s a hole in the budget because of that. He’s put it in his budget again this year.”

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  • Jjklongisland Jjklongisland on Oct 30, 2008

    Wow, lots of L.I. bashers on here. While I agree it is expensive to live on Long Island there is also many great things about the island. Most of your high taxes pay for some of the best education a child can get and a top notch volunteer Fire/EMS service, along with beautiful parks, historical towns and tons of jobs. There beaches are excellent, infastructure is vast and the close proximity to arguably the Best City in the world is also some of the reasons why it is expensive to live here. That being said I am not trying to start a debate on why Long Island is great yada yada, I just am defending where I live and trying to shed some light on why it is so expensive. The wage paid on Long Island is alot higher than most of the nation so it is all relative. Now regarding the article. Red light cameras have been studied and some statistics show that more accidents occur at these intersections than prior to the camera being installed. I think installing red light cameras for the purpose of generating revenue is just more fuel for the allready corrupt political agenda.

  • Fallout11 Fallout11 on Oct 31, 2008

    MMMmmmm, revenue enforcement. In days of old, unwary travelers would sometimes be bushwhacked along their route by revenue-seeking bandits. Times haven't changed much, have they?

  • Bobbysirhan The Pulitzer Center that collaborated with PBS in 'reporting' this story is behind the 1619 Project.
  • Bobbysirhan Engines are important.
  • Hunter Ah California. They've been praying for water for years, and now that it's here they don't know what to do with it.
  • FreedMike I think this illustrates a bit of Truth About PHEVs: it's hard to see where they "fit." On paper, they make sense because they're the "best of both worlds." Yes, if you commute 20-30 miles a day, you can generally make it on electric power only, and yes, if you're on a 500-mile road trip, you don't have to worry about range. But what percentage of buyers has a 20-mile commute, or takes 500-mile road trips? Meanwhile, PHEVs are more expensive than hybrids, and generally don't offer the performance of a BEV (though the RAV4 PHEV is a first class sleeper). Seems this propulsion type "works" for a fairly narrow slice of buyers, which explains why PHEV sales haven't been all that great. Speaking for my own situation only, assuming I had a place to plug in every night, and wanted something that ran on as little gas as possible, I'd just "go electric" - I'm a speed nut, and when it comes to going fast, EVs are awfully hard to beat. If I was into hypermiling, I'd just go with a hybrid. Of course, your situation might vary, and if a PHEV fits it, then by all means, buy one. But the market failure of PHEVs tells me they don't really fit a lot of buyers' situations. Perhaps that will change as charging infrastructure gets built out, but I just don't see a lot of growth in PHEVs.
  • Kwik_Shift Thank you for this. I always wanted get involved with racing, but nothing happening locally.