NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – It’s called a “fair fine,” a new proposal to get rid of fixed-rate parking tickets in New York City.
CBS2’s Jessica Moore explains that many driver say the plan punishes the rich.
The average parking ticket in New York City will set you back between $60-$125, but that could change if City Council Speaker Corey Johnson has his way.
“For those with means, $120 is a nuisance, but for those living in poverty it is a severe hardship,” Johnson said.
Johnson wants to make civil fines for things like parking tickets and traffic violations income based. The more you make, the more you pay. Which begs the question: Aren’t we all supposed to be equal under the law?
“This flies in the face of everything we know about the criminal justice system,” Moore said.
“Well, if we had a truly fair and equal justice system, that would make sense. But we don’t right now. Poor people are disproportionately penalized and incarcerated, not in a revenue-generating way, in a proportionate way and in a fair way. So there would be a fine, it just wouldn’t be the same for everyone.”
“How would you verify someone’s income?” Moore asked.
“There would be a process involved. Just like when someone is arrested, there is a screening process that takes place. The same thing would happen here, and people would have to swear they’re not lying,” Johnson said.
Under Johnson’s plan, an independent judge would determine how much fine is based on the severity of offense and how much the offender makes of one day’s work.
Some think this change is anything but “fine.”
“You don’t penalize people for making more money,” said Upper West Side resident Deep Anand.
“It’s just not fair. I think everyone should be on the same platform,” said Manisha Dhiman.
“I mean, I’m not necessarily against it,” said Upper West Side resident Ariana Kriplai. “Systematically it seems fair since these tickets seem to disproportionately impact people on the lower end of the income bracket.”
Johnson wouldn’t answer questions about how broad the sliding scale for fines would be, but pointed to the model used across Europe, where critics say fines can cost a fortune, especially if you already have one.