The State of California is just one of many states around the nation that is coming up with innovative ways to increase revenue collection. In an effort to fund the ailing state budget, California state officials have announced an amnesty program specially designed to entice drivers who haven’t paid traffic tickets in years.
The California Judicial Council has approved a set of guidelines to be used by courts and county governments in the collection of unpaid traffic tickets. The California amnesty program offers a considerable reduction to delinquent drivers: Each ticketed driver is awarded 50 percent off the amount of each unpaid citation. The program aims to attract drivers who have received traffic tickets anywhere in California in the last three years. Not all traffic citations are eligible for amnesty. Drivers who have outstanding tickets for driving under the influence, reckless driving, and parking infractions are not entitled to participate in the amnesty program. In order to take advantage of the discount in fine amounts, delinquent drivers must come forward and pay by June of next year.
The Interim Administrative Director of the California Courts, Ron Overholt, has admitted that the courts and county governments “desperately need the money.” He called the amnesty program a “win-win” situation for both drivers and the state. Drivers can shave off hundreds of dollars per ticket, while California stands to collect millions if the amnesty program succeeds.
Many drivers in California have complained for years that the excessive fees tacked on to traffic violations prevented them from paying the fines. Many drivers have taken a chance by continuing to drive on suspended licenses, while others have given up on driving altogether. In some California communities where public transportation options are limited, carpooling has become popular, while taxicab companies are reporting increased revenues.
The amnesty program, unlike other money-saving measures recently taken by the state, is expected to be well-received by California residents. Several budget cuts aimed at reducing the state’s deficit are undermining the ability of some state agencies to carry on their missions. The California Office of the Attorney General is looking to save money by looking at different proposals for changing its law enforcement and prosecution priorities.
Some of the proposals being considered by the attorney general’s office include placing a stronger focus on white collar crimes such as cybercrime and mortgage fraud. While those crimes usually involve larger complexity, the investigative and enforcement units for those crimes aren’t so expensive. The current state budget cuts in California, as they pertain to law enforcement, are targeting units that fight drug and gang related crimes.
Another unpopular proposal being weighed would shorten the public school years in several unified school districts. Proponents of reducing the school year by several days claim that each forfeited day would save $215 million. But some school districts have already shortened their school year. For students at San Diego public schools, the academic year consists of 175 days, compared to 180 days two years ago. School officials in San Diego aren’t willing to cut any more days from the school year, but they may consider eliminating extra-curricular activities such as high-school sports instead.
Post contributed by Sara Woods, who writes for Coupon Croc. In need of auto insurance? Grab Virgin Car Insurance discount codes and save on your policy.