Fear of Taxes and Bullshit Traffic Fines

This is bullshit.  Virginia is adding hefty “civil fees” onto traffic violations rather than just raising taxes:

Many of the civil fees do address alcohol as was the intent of the “Dangerous Driver Law” when it originated, but the fees also may be accessed for such daily traffic violations as rolling through a stop sign (a fee of $300), or impeding traffic–a charge that’s possible when stopping in front of your mailbox to get the mail. The civil fee alone for a conviction on the latter is $300.

Play an R or X rated movie on the van DVD player and if it is seen by someone in another vehicle, a driver can be charged and fined with having an obscene video image seen from outside the car. The civil fee is $300.
The new law takes effect July 1.

It is a common complaint that some cities and towns use traffic violations as a tax, but this is pretty blatant (emphasis mine):

Local elected officials didn’t want to go on the record commenting on this way of raising funds for transportation in the state, but privately several said it was a way of keeping the Republican-controlled General Assembly from having to implement a new tax or raise taxes for the troubled transportation system. Gov. Tim Kaine, a Democrat, signed the bill into law.

Instead of direct taxes to fund transportation, some are calling the civil penalties “hidden fees.” They range from $250 to $3,000, depending on the traffic violation, and will be assessed on a variety of misdemeanor traffic violations including being a passenger in a hit and run or the failure to give a proper signal.

There are already laws and fines in place for traffic violations.  This is nothing more than an attempt to raise taxes without appearing to raise taxes.  After all, those jokers who break traffic laws deserve what they get, right?  That’s the reasoning behind this move, and it stinks of mismanagement.  If everyone uses the roads, everyone should pay for the roads.  The cost shouldn’t be heaped purely on those who violate traffic regulations.  Even if more of the cost does go that way, at what point is is acceptable?  What if it was a $1000 fine for running a stop sign?  $3,000?  At what point do we call bullshit?

Just because someone breaks a law does not make them a completely unsympathetic figure.  This is robbery no matter how you frame it.

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5 Responses

  1. […] 23rd, 2007 I’ve been thinking about the incoming civil traffic fines in Virginia. What appears on the surface to be another attempt by Republicans to raise taxes […]

  2. Plus it’s indirect tax which favours the rich over the poor and will criminalise those unable to pay. As Warren Buffet said- there is a class war and the we (the rich) are winning,

  3. RickB,
    It definitely will hurt those unable to pay. I just hope enough people remember this bull come the next elections. I want to see those Republicans lose (ditto the Democratic Governor for signing this into law).

  4. Isn’t the sponsor of this new law an attorney who owns a traffic law firm? Hm.

  5. […] socialist opposing socialist road taxes?  How dash clever of […]

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