Gotta hand it to Nassau County Exec Ed Mangano. His proposal to more than double the County surcharge on traffic and parking tickets to hire and pay for more police will incentivize the NCPD to issue more tickets to assure their continued employment. The “Public Safety Fee”, contained in the 2017 budget proposal he just submitted to the Nassau County Legislature would impose a mandatory $105 surcharge on traffic and parking ticket convictions. That’s a staggering 60% increase above the current $45 fee.
Sure, other jurisdictions impose such surcharges. NY State imposes a $88 surcharge on NYC moving violations and there’s a $15 New York State Criminal Justice surcharge on NYC parking tickets. But $105 fee on Nassau County tickets would significantly bump the costs of some tickets above current rates. Red light camera tickets would go from $95 to $200, parking tickets could increase from $110 to 215 and the average moving violation would increase from $225 to $300, says one local TV station Fios1 News 9/21/16
Costs are already high on Long Island. It’s getting harder to attract and retain businesses and young people. Nassau County legislator Kevan Abrahams put it best when he said; “we’re not going to attract young people, we’re not going to keep people here…with unfair fees”. This is the great shortsightedness with balancing budgets this way. “It’s a pickpocket tax” says County resident Eric Cruz on WCBS TV WCBS TV News 9/20/16 “Not raising property taxes so politicians can say we didn’t raise property taxes,”
The proposed increase is expected to raise $64 million annually – about $15 million of that to cover this year’s shortfall in NCPD overtime. How is this sustainable? This won’t lead to growth. As the cost of doing business in Nassau County increases, surely trucking companies will seek to pass those costs along to the consumer or move elsewhere. Some firms already charge NYC customers for anticipated parking tickets. Can Nassau residents and businesses expect the same? And, as parking fees go up and the available parking spaces decrease, some businesses are pulling their operations out of New York City for less expensive venues…. Along with the jobs they provide. Is that to be Nassau’s future as well?
No, this repressive surcharge should not be enacted.