Oct 202011

File this under: You gotta be fricken’ kidding me! California is in such desperate need of tax revenue that it has recently started a traffic ticket amnesty program for unpaid traffic fines. That means, that anyone who has an unpaid traffic ticket in California that is more than 3 years past due, can pay the ticket for 50% off. There is so much wrong with this it boggles the mind. A few of the idiotic consequences of this action are:

1) This is, without doubt, an admission by the government of California that traffic tickets are a revenue source and have nothing to do with public safety. The state, which is cash starved, is offering “criminals” who are a threat to public safety, the opportunity to make the public safe again by paying 50% of the fine. If it were about, “safety” there would be no amnesty for these menaces to public safety. But, if the state can raise some money from the menaces, well, then it’s OK.

2) The state is offering every incentive possible for those who get traffic tickets to not pay them until the next amnesty period. Every person who receives a ticket in California should now refuse to pay the ticket until the next amnesty period. That way, they can keep their money, gain interest, and pay half the penalty later on. The total revenue from this amnesty program will likely result in less current revenue as more people realize they are getting a benefit from not paying the fine. The state thinks that it is going to get all of the current revenue PLUS the amnesty revenue. Fools! What they are going to get is a lower current revenue PLUS some amnesty revenue. At best, it’s likely to be a wash; at worst, the state will lose revenue. Talk about unintended consequences. The state will actually lose money by trying to raise revenue with this amnesty.

3) Every person who paid the full value of the ticket should be outraged. How is it possible that the law abiding citizens pay full price, while those who avoid the fines are given a break? Not only did the “avoider” (yes avoider is a word) keep his money for over 3 years, he now gets to pay 1/2 price for his indiscretion. It is actually a punishment for following the law and paying on time.

Although it’s always been clear that most traffic laws are methods to generate revenue for the state – a sort of hidden tax – it has never been so blatantly brandished as by this California amnesty program. The state has always maintained, rather hypocritically, that traffic laws are about safety. Well, California has now basically “outed” the fact that it’s about money.

People will always do what maximizes the benefit to them. Products will be purchased on the internet to avoid taxes. A merchant may discount a product for a cash payment. And, people will recognize that not paying a traffic ticket will result in amnesty in a few years. Yet, the fools in government just can’t seem to figure that out.

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