There was a flurry of amnesty activity in Chicago yesterday.
It was the last day for the parking ticket amnesty program. Mayor Richard Daly, facing a $469M Budget gap over the next two years, hoped to raise $1M between December 1, 2008, and February 14, 2009, with the amnesty program.
The program allows people with parking tickets issued prior to January 1, 2007, to pay their fine in full and receive 50% off penalties. For example, if a ticket carries a fine of $50 and $50 penalty, a payment of $75 was payment in full.
Here are the numbers:
- 2.8M tickets issued each year in Chicago
- 3.5M tickets eligible for the amnesty program
- 58,000 vehicles booted for unpaid parking tickets
- 2 unpaid parking tickets more than 1-year-old makes you eligible for the boot
What about an amnesty program for NYC parking tickets? Here are the numbers for NYC:
- 10M tickets issued last year
- >$625M in revenue
NYC doesn’t have any amnesty program for unpaid parking tickets. NYC has three settlement programs that offer a reduction in fines in exchange for not contesting your parking ticket. One of the programs is for private passenger cars while the other two are designed for commercial vehicles.
Other New York cities/towns have initiated amnesty programs to generate revenue. For example, Brookhaven initiated a program from February 15, 2009, to May 15, 2009, offering 50% off your parking ticket fines. $1M in revenue is outstanding. Albany’s amnesty program ended on December 12, 2008, and offered 50% off overdue parking tickets.
What conclusions can be drawn:
- Parking tickets are big business
- Generating significant revenue
- Settlement programs that don’t expire in several months are preferable over short-term amnesty programs
- The motivation for amnesty programs is a quick revenue jolt
- More parking tickets are issued now than ever before due to the economic crisis faced by government
Do you agree with these conclusions? What other conclusions do you draw?