May 21, 2008

Legislator Becker Opposes Outrageous New Fees

Nassau County Legislator Francis X. Becker Jr. voted against the imposition of new fees on county residents.  In a fractured vote, the Nassau County Legislature voted to approve new fees to be imposed on Nassau County drivers who have certain traffic tickets dismissed.

The new legislation imposes a $15 fee for dismissed “production of proof” traffic infractions.  Such infractions include failure to produce a drivers license, proof of inspection, registration card, insurance card or handicapped parking permit, as well as certain equipment violations.  Normally, if a person receives a ticket for such an infraction, the ticket is dismissed if he or she can provide proof of the documentation or repair.  Now, if you receive a ticket for not carrying your license or for having a tail light out, but you produce the license or proof of repair to the court, the ticket will be dismissed, but you will still be charged a $15 dismissal fee.    

The new law will also assess a $15 fee upon a person who elects to pay his or her fine in installments.  “Generally, a person requests an installment plan because he or she cannot pay the full amount at once.  I think it is unconscionable to impose an additional fee on them,” said Legislator Becker.  This new fee is expected to generate $1.4 million dollars for the county.     

“The county is facing huge deficits exceeding $500 million over the next three years.  The County should be working to find ways to cut spending and eliminate expenses throughout the county instead of creating new fees to fill the deficit,” said Legislator Becker.   Since the County Executive took office in 2002, more than 25 fees have been created or increased countywide.  

Nassau County, with a population of 1.3 million people, is larger than 7 states, but the county’s budget is larger than 16 states.  “Since my vote against the ordinance was not enough to prevent its passing, I urge all residents to send a message to the County Executive and the Democrat Legislators letting them know that we are not willing to pay for this deficit.  So, please drive carefully, be mindful to carry all necessary documentation with you at all times, and please check your car for broken tail lights, cracked windshields, etc., to prevent having to pay a fee.  Together we can stop this fee from being imposed,” said Legislator Becker.