New towing bill awaiting Governor Paterson’s signature
A new towing bill sponsored in the Senate by Attorney General candidate Eric Schneiderman is now getting plenty of attention from Mayor Bloomberg, and his Chancellor of the Exchequer, David Frankel. The Bill aims to protect people in bankruptcy or financial crisis from losing their last dollar to creditors, putting items out of creditors’ reach like homes worth less than $150,000 and wedding rings worth less than $1,000.
However, when city lawyers reviewed the bill, they discovered it would also bar creditors – including cities – from seizing vehicles worth $4,000 or less. That’s $4,000 after outstanding loans, so even luxury cars – Lamborghinis and BMW – would be protected from towing if they’re heavily financed.
Asleep at the Wheel
The Bill passed both chambers of the NYC legislature by huge majorities with very little fanfare. However, NYC did not realize that $50M worth of towing revenue was in play. Mayor Bloomberg immediately dashed off a letter to Gov. Paterson stating:
“Once it becomes common knowledge that most vehicles will be completely exempt from scofflaw towing, collection rates will drop. With the loss of towing as a deterrent, the change is also likely to increase illegal parking, endangering public safety.”
City officials say the rules would almost end their practice of towing cars whose drivers have racked up more than $350 in parking tickets.
“It is impossible to expect marshals and sheriffs in the field – even if they had a Kelley Blue Book – to be able to determine the value of a car after loans and other liens are considered,” said a furious David Frankel, the city’s finance commissioner.”
Governor Paterson will receive the Bill for his consideration in the next few weeks.
Senator Schneiderman’s response
“This legislation will ensure that, in these tough economic times, low-income working families who go into debt do not become destitute and entirely dependent on state aid,” said Justin Berhaupt, Schneiderman’s legislative director.”
The Mayor’s arguments lack substance. C’mon, who are they kidding…Is the city concerned about public safety? Now that vehicles having a value of $4000 (minus loans) may be exempt from the hook, everyone is going to rush to park in front of fire hydrants and invade bus stops? Don’t be silly.
Show NYC the money, plain and simple. What I love about this Bill is it may create an impetus to discuss the myriad abuses and liberties taken by warriors and towers. You mean to tell me that a car parked at 2 AM in front of a legal pedestrian ramp is towed away because of concerns about public safety?
Your vehicle can be towed for any reason at all. If you get one parking ticket you can be towed because all of NYC is a tow away zone. If you are issued a parking ticket and have $101 in judgment you can be towed. If you have $350 in judgment you can be towed by a marshal or sheriff.
Bluebook, my eye. Prevent towing vehicles with outstanding parking ticket judgments…No way. NYC will do what they always do about after the City and State parking rules and laws; NYC will simply ignore the laws they don’t like.[Source: The Daily News]
Do you think Governor Paterson will sign this Bill? Will Senator Schneiderman accommodate Mayor Bloomberg’s concerns and agree to revise the Bill? Please post your comments, we’d love to know what you think about this.