CA Governor Proposes Lower Traffic Fines For Low-Income Offenders

Holly Matkin

California Governor Gavin Newsom's plan would benefit drivers who make less than about $26,000 per year.

Sacramento, CA – California Governor Gavin Newsom is pushing to expand a pilot program that slashes fines and fees for low-income drivers convicted of traffic offenses.

The plan, which is part of Newsom’s latest state budget proposal, would only benefit drivers who make less than approximately $26,000 per year, KSBY reported.

Instead of paying the full amount for their traffic citations, they would only be required to pay half – and sometimes even less than that, according to The Sacramento Bee.

Traffic violators who make more than the $26,000 cutoff can expect to pay full-price.

In order to compensate courts for the massive loss in citation revenue, Newsom proposed pulling $11.5 million from the state general fund for 2020-2021.

The governor said he also wants to expand the program statewide by 2023 – thereby creating even more loss in citation revenue – and advocated pulling a whopping $56 million from the general fund to backfill the courts by that time, The Sacramento Bee reported.

Approximately 3.6 million traffic tickets were issued throughout the state last year.

While over $1.4 billion worth of fines were collected, another $1.8 billion went unpaid, The Sacramento Bee reported.

“We have crossed that tipping point,” State Judicial Council Administrative Director Martin Hoshino said. “Why impose a level where they can’t pay and never will pay?”

Hoshino said that low-income offenders likely don’t have enough disposable income to pay steep fines, and that the state “might be incentivizing it the wrong way” by suspending their licenses or garnishing their wages due to nonpayment.

“You have gotten away from what you want, which is to create a deterrent for people not to engage in that [poor driving] behavior again,” he told The Sacramento Bee.

The so-called fine reduction program has already been implemented in Ventura, Tulare, Shasta, and San Francisco counties for the past several years. A total of 1,500 low-income drivers had their fine obligations slashed by an average of $657 last year, lowering their payments to an average of $362, according to the paper.

If approved by the legislature, multiple counties will be phased into the program every year until it has been enacted statewide, KSBY reported.

Although the base fines for most traffic violations have remained steady for many years, a slew of fees aimed at helping to fund other programs have been stacked on top, resulting in totals that are often three to five times the amount of the base fines themselves, according to The Sacramento Bee.

The programs that those add-on costs support help to fund medical life-flight helicopters, victims compensation programs, public safety training, DNA identification programs, brain injury research, and local court costs.

“Over decades, the state has increased the fines, fees, assessments and surcharges levied on individuals convicted of criminal offenses,” Newsom’s proposal read, according to The Sacramento Bee. “Expanding the [program] provides targeted relief for low-income individuals while maintaining accountability.”

San Diego resident Eric Abramson said that it isn’t fair that low-income traffic violators have been held to the same standard as more affluent traffic violators, KFMB reported.

“Some people of low income can be trapped in a cycle of a tax that's going to be the same or a ticket that's going to be the same as someone with a larger income that can pay that," Abramson said. "Maybe there's a chance that more tickets will get paid and there will actually be more revenue for the state.”

“I’d be more inclined to pay mine if they were reasonable,” Oceano resident Rory Medlin told KSBY.

But not everyone is backing Newsom’s idea, KFMB reported.

"Why separate the lower income folks from the higher income folks when it comes to driving?" asked San Diego resident Kevin Allen, who could potentially qualify for the reduced fines. “I think we just got to make sure we follow the law when it comes to driving your car. Drive safely.”

Comments (105)
RussellSR
RussellSR

I would like to see fines as a percent of gross income. $100 to me hurts me more than $100 does to my doctor. Have a minimum amount but scale it up.

No. 1-27
flybynight
flybynight

Discount traffic tickets ............what a concept🙄

JBoH
JBoH

"...pulling a whopping $56 million from the general fund to backfill the courts..."

And who makes up that shortfall? Hmmmm...let me think. Oh my! The taxpayer! Well it is California so what's another few million dollars to the taxpayer?

TXMaverick59
TXMaverick59

If Newsome had been elected to a good state...I would care about what he does. He's a freaking moron and a typical ignorant as hell liberal. Californians (a majority of them anyway) voted this dipshit into office. Y'all can deal with his stupidity.

Aramovich
Aramovich

In some European countries the fines scale up with income. A highly paid Nokia executive paid a 116,000 Euro ($120,000 give or take) fine for speeding on his Harley. In fact, why shouldn't the rich pay more if it is to be a deterrent?

flybynight
flybynight

People that live in rich states should have to pay more for everything!!!! That's fair, right?

RussellSR
RussellSR

"50% of the population pays no federal income tax, yet they still get an equal vote." An advocate of poll taxes i presume so those lousy free loaders don't vote?

PhoHukYu
PhoHukYu

Meanwhile in Arkansas, if you're a cop who gets caught driving hammered, you don't even lose your job. Blue Lives Matter, meet your brother in blue, Adam Joseph Zitzelberger:

Excalibr4
Excalibr4

How about higher fines for entitled rich fuckers?

walkintall
walkintall

Seems to me that the obvious way to avoid paying crippling fines for committing traffic offenses is to not commit the offense in the first place.

flyer898
flyer898

I have a novel idea; let’s try obeying the law. It is a wonderful way to avoid interacting with law and avoiding fines.

LostAllSanity
LostAllSanity

Why doesn't bleeding-heart Newsom dedicate his limo and driver to transporting the poorest - and he can take public transportation?? And if Newsom's driver get caught speeding, Newsom's Office pays a 10x Fine. After all, Newsom represents the rich and famous and he should set an example.

186
186

Governor Newsom needs a reality check. His liberal thinking is going to drive the State into insolvency.

debs37
debs37

What happened to equal treatment under the law?

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread. And popo's are very into this.

kkat
kkat

If anyone does not understand what the realities of Socialism are, just take a look at California. The once most beautiful state is quickly becoming the armpit and Public Restroom of the world.. Dangerous Ideology. It destroys the beauty in anything it touches. Who could ever imagine paying 70-80% of their hard earned income to the government to pay for everyone else's "Freebies" including your own, which are no longer free because of the heavy tax burden. Governor Gruesome is giving everyone a preview of America on Socialism and it sure ain't pretty! If you think it is, then move to Venezuela or Cuba for that matter!

Stanracer
Stanracer

Another bleeding heart, hug-a-thug, liberal politician "hard" at work. STOP VOTING IN LIBERALS!!!!

VicG
VicG

What a bunch of BS. Get rewarded for bad driving. Un-freaking believable...

sizzle937
sizzle937

My aunt got a call from school to pick up sick grandkid. Car with child seat not there. On the less than two mile trip cop gives her a ticket. She goes to court. Two other cases envolving illegal aliens. No fine because no money. My aunt figures she’s home free. She explains it was a emergency and car seat was in the other car. $150 the judge says. Why they get off. Because they are poor. She said her husband and her on social security. $150. Ok so how many days in jail is that because I don’t have the money. You could hear grumbling in court.
Judge let her go. Suddenly everyone was poor.

magnumforc
magnumforc

Newsom is trying to bankrupt California in his first year or so. He is an asshat who has cares less about the damage he is doing. Pandering to the illegals and the supposedly poor is his way of garnering votes for the Democrats who control the state. In this instance they will raise fines on everyone else, just like the free medical provided to the illegals on the backs of those working Americans who cannot afford medical but pay towards giving it to illegals. California now sucks even more...

MarcD
MarcD

Fine. make them work it off, picking up trash, etc. Work 'em hard.

MarcD
MarcD

Does this mean their insurance doesn't go up, either?

MarcD
MarcD

You just wait. Soon enough, we will have income ID cards to present at the grocery store to see how much we have to pay for basic groceries. "For you, that head of lettuce is $15. For Pedro over there, it's 50 cents".

widbill45acp
widbill45acp

It gets tiring explaining stuff to these low brow liberals. A fine is a fine. Do you pay less buying a car because you won’t work and can’t afford it? Are NFL tickets cheaper to the homeless or criminals just getting out of jail for the 50th time for assaulting cops and nurses, no. THIS IS THE REASON WHY MOST STATES HAVE A POINT SYSTEM!!!! HELLO, McFly!

The folks who make more, usually because they work hard, went to school, and earned it, can afford the fines, BUT, if they get too many points, they lose their license, something most folks here complaining about law enforcement already have accomplished. This COUNTRY is America, NOT RUSSIA, you commie bastards! We are free and equal. Thus everything in a store costs the same for everyone equally. If you work hard, you can buy more; if you do not want to work, you can live in California, which is going broke. If you can’t find a job to pay your tickets, quit driving like an asshole, and you won’t get any tickets. If you want new shoes, you will pay the same as a Billionaire, as this is America. Equal rights, Not unequal rights were bums get more than citizens who work. If you can’t work you get welfare unless you are a druggie, but that is YOUR ISSUE, why should I pay for your digressions, you have the same damn choices everyone else does, so quit crying like a little baby because no one wants to hire your raggedy ass.

Making working folks pay more for committing crimes is communism, and you commie bastards have plenty of places to go as that is your free choice in America, but just to let you know, it does not work that way in Bernie Land.

P.S. is the Governor of California in need of help solving very basic simple problems? He makes the easy difficult, the fun sad, and smart folks the enemy. What the hell is wrong with this guy? I forgot this is CA, this possible guy, or whatever gender he identifies with, I am not against it, just want to be accurate!

Shastabeau
Shastabeau

First things first! Maybe don't drive so you get a ticket! I'm still waiting for what the California mob boss is going to do about car insurance for low income. Not that you should drive under the influence, but your looking at 4-6 hundred dollars a month for coverage.

61mouse
61mouse

Who says crime don't pay ??

tuggingalong
tuggingalong

That’s discrimination!!!


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