Virginia up to its old tricks illegally collecting MORE tax revenue

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by B_NineInchCock_160IQ, Jun 26, 2007.

  1. B_NineInchCock_160IQ

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    This is just fucking ridiculous. The system they already had was already bad enough. Now they're imposing additional fines on top of it. Those assclown VA State Troopers hand out reckless driving tickets like they are candy... for going 75 mph on a freeway that was originally designed not to have a speed limit. It's never been proven that keeping speed limits ridiculously low has led to safer roads... in fact the inverse has been demonstrated to be true as people driving different speeds lead to more accidents. Yet VA and many other states and municipalities ignore the federal guidelines about posting speed limits (which should, in the interest of safety and reason, be set at the 85th percentile of free-flowing traffic) and illegally keep limits absurdly low. This is because during the Nixon administration when very low speed limits were imposed in the interest of saving gas, a lot of states and counties found they had a huge influx in revenue from handing out speeding tickets all day long. Long after the Nixon-era limits were repealed, many highways STILL have the same 55 mph speed limit posted, and many other side streets also have stupidly low limits posted because of the constant source of extra revenue these generate. It's ridiculous. It's underhanded. It's more than a bit evil. In my eyes it's downright criminal, since they are all conveniently ignoring the federal guidelines. They do it in the name of safety- which is total bullshit. As following the guidelines they thumb their nose at would most likely be more safe. As the article below mentions, these new obscene fines were concocted as a means of generating revenue. Only after the fact do they say it's "to stop people from driving like maniacs." There are a 1,000 better things they could have our police force doing that would help make us safer. But those things don't generate so much money. It's all about money.


    Hefty Fees In Store for Misbehaving Va. Drivers

    By Tom Jackman
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Saturday, June 23, 2007; A01

    Attention Virginians: The cost of bad driving is about to go up. Way up.
    Say you are driving 78 mph on the Capital Beltway and a state trooper tickets you for "reckless driving -- speeding 20 mph over." You will probably be fined $200 by the judge. But then you will receive a new, additional $1,050 fine from the Old Dominion, payable in three convenient installments. So convenient that you must pay the first one immediately, at the courthouse.
    First-time drunk driver? A $300 fine from the judge and a $2,250 fee from the commonwealth.
    Driving without a license? Maybe a $75 fine. Definitely a $900 fee from Virginia.
    As part of the plan to fund the annual $1 billion transportation package approved this year, state legislators endorsed a new set of "civil remedial fees" for all misdemeanor and felony traffic violations, such as speeding 20 mph above the limit, reckless driving and, in some cases, driving with faulty brakes. Drivers with points on their licenses -- a speeding ticket usually earns four points -- will be hit for $75 for every point above eight and $100 for having that many points in the first place.
    The new fees will go into effect July 1, and defense attorneys, prosecutors and judges expect chaos. Court clerks fear having to deal with angry hordes learning about the fees for the first time at the payment window.
    "I think that we will be overwhelmed," said Nancy L. Lake, clerk of the Fairfax County General District Court, which includes the busiest traffic court in the state. "We feel we're going to take a lot of flack."
    The fees will be imposed only on Virginia residents. All defendants must pay the fines, but the "abuser fees," as Del. David B. Albo (R-Fairfax) calls them, are part of the state licensing fees and cannot be imposed on out-of-state drivers.
    Standard traffic infractions, such as low-level speeding and running a stop sign, do not carry the fees. The state courts posted the fees and eligible offenses this month.
    Albo and Del. Thomas D. Rust (R-Fairfax), who co-sponsored the fee legislation, project that $65 million to $120 million will be raised annually to cover costs of snow removal, pothole repair and grass-mowing. Money for Northern Virginia's congested roads had to come from somewhere, they reasoned, and new taxes were not going to fly in the GOP-controlled House of Delegates.
    The people who will be caught up in the new fees say the first wave of chaos will hit in early August, when the first tickets issued under the new law arrive in courthouses.
    Traffic court judges fear they will see a huge increase in trials, with defendants unwilling to plead guilty because they know they will face additional fees.
    Prosecutors say that in addition to possibly handling more trials, judges might suspend fines they usually impose, knowing that a heavier civil fee awaits. The money from fines will go to county governments, which could then face a decline in revenue. Funds from the new fees will go to the state.
    Defense attorneys say the new fees will unfairly burden the poor because they will not be able to pay them, will lose their licenses and possibly their jobs, and then will face tickets for unlicensed driving, which would lead to jail time.
    Michael S. Davis, a veteran Fairfax defense attorney, said he plans to file a legal challenge to the fees the first time he encounters them. "If somebody from out of state does not have to pay the same price," Davis said, "I think there's clearly an equal-protection issue" under the U.S. Constitution.
    Albo said he would agree with that view if the fee were imposed as criminal punishment. "But it's not," he said. "It's a variable registration fee based on the lousiness of your record. We're giving people with good driving records a reduction in their fee. And we can't charge a registration fee on people from New York flying through Virginia."
    Lead-footed drivers should not hold their breath waiting for the legal challenge. Davis said it would have to plow through the state's administrative process before making it to the courts and would be followed by levels of appeals. It would take years.
    The fees were included in a larger package passed by the General Assembly to try to address the burgeoning congestion across the state. When Albo and Rust submitted the fee proposals as legislation by themselves in previous years, they were shot down.
    "My job as a delegate is to make people slow down and build some roads," Albo said. "This bill does both."
    Rust and Albo said New Jersey imposes similar fees to great effect. New Jersey was "pretty convinced it improved safety on the roads," Rust said.
    New Jersey calls the fees "surcharges" and raises about $130 million from them annually, Cathleen Lewis, state motor vehicle agency spokeswoman, said. The money is not specifically earmarked for transportation and has been collected since 1983. The number of points drivers have accrued has decreased since 1983, Lewis said, but there is no study linking the decrease directly to the surcharges. New Jersey charges all drivers, not just residents.
    And most of New Jersey's surcharges are much smaller: $100 for driving without a license, compared with $900 in Virginia. But a first conviction for driving while intoxicated in New Jersey brings a $3,000 hit vs. $2,250 in Virginia.
    In Virginia, the fee can be paid over three years. After the first third is paid at the courthouse, the other two are to be billed by the state Department of Motor Vehicles. DMV officials have not determined how that will work, a spokeswoman said.
    Faced with the prospect of financially poorer drivers losing their licenses when they cannot pay a fee, judges might start suspending part or all of the original fines, Alexandria Commonwealth's Attorney Randolph S. Sengel said. The result "might be increased transportation funding offset by decreased general fund revenue," he said.
    "For someone who's living near the poverty line, or even making $30,000," said Fairfax public defender Todd G. Petit, fees of $1,000 or more might have "a significant impact," and failure to pay them might lead to losing a license, a job and income. "These appear to be punitive measures that are being hidden in civil fees. If we gave the judges discretion to do what is necessary and proportionate, then we can raise the money without disproportionately affecting the poor."
    Lawyers said that more defendants will hire lawyers than before, that the lawyers will charge more money because the stakes are higher and that more cases will be appealed to circuit courts.
    "It's basically the Lawyer Full Employment Act," cracked one Fairfax lawyer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he stands to benefit from the new law.
    But, Albo said: "it's basically a voluntary tax. If you don't commit a crime on the streets, or run up a huge amount of points, you don't pay anything. We believe its main effect will be to get people to stop driving like maniacs."

    I wouldn't have a problem with voluntary taxes. Do it like the Europeans do. Tax gasoline. Those that drive more and those that drive faster end up paying a lot more. Leaving it in the hands of fuckwit cops and the kangaroo courts they are in bed with makes the whole thing completely arbitrary and unfairly punishes those the aforementioned fuckwit cops are prejudiced against.
     
  2. D_Loveday Rubberhose

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    I lived in Virginia for several years and, you're right, it is about money, but everything has a pricetag, so, realistically, it has to be about money. This is the price VA residents pay for Govenor Gilmore's ridulous repeal of the personal property tax. When you eliminate $3 billion in annual revenue, you have to make it up somewhere. Ever since, VA officials have been scrambling for revenue for roads, bridges, and public transit. I guess the voters didn't see this coming in the '90s.
     
  3. DC_DEEP

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    The more I study it, NIC, the more I'm starting to think that Virginia has more illegal taxes than legal ones.

    The one that stuck in my craw when I first moved here back in 2002 was that the state wants to charge a "sales & use" tax on any durable goods or expensive items when you move here - whether or not you already paid sales tax on those items. Automobiles are the easiest for them to extort, because you have to license them, and when you license them, the state requires that you pay Virginia sales tax (even if your car was bought, paid, taxed elsewhere) before they will start charging you state, county, and city "sticker" taxes (the tax you pay simply for the privilege of having a vehicle, and in addition to any property taxes).

    They still collect tolls (yes, that's a tax, too) on the Dulles Toll Road and the Virginia Greenway, even though the bonds on those were paid off long ago (and part of the legal agreement the state made with voters was that the tolls would be lifted once those bonds were paid off.)

    It is ridiculous. The only tax that should go into the state's general fund is sales tax. Any other tax should be visible (not like the hotel "occupancy tax") and should be specific-purpose, such as fuel tax going toward roadway construction/maintenance.

    Voters have too long allowed state legislators to just simply slap on a tax if they want more money to squander. Having them say "well, folk's is gonna drink and smoke, so them drinkers and smokers are tax cash-cows for us!" is flatly unacceptable. And no, the state does NOT have the authority to arbitrarily tax whatever they want whenever they want at whatever rate they want, for no other reason than they want more money.
     
  4. Pecker

    Pecker Retired Moderator
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    You ain't seen nothin' yet.

    Virginia and North Carolina are quietly planning tollbooths for north-south traffic at their common state line on Interstates 95 and 85. At $5 a pop their mouths water at the dream of hundred$ of million$.
     
  5. stretcher74

    stretcher74 New Member

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    TheStar.com - News - Councillors back doubling land transfer tax

    That's nasty and will definitely hit the working poor hard. Gasoline Taxes are supposed to pay for roads but has become an endless cash grab into the general coffers. The "Commonwealth" of Virginia really treats its citzens like crap it seems. I've heard of the "vehicle" property tax of 5%??!! which seems like sumptarary law to me.

    Here in Toronto we have a leftist big city mayor that ran on a platform that he would garantee the uninterupted delivery of public services by giving the public sector unions whatever they asked for and never hire replacement workers for anything no matter how unreasonable union demands.

    The result of this and his bread and circuses approach as been a 15-20% yearly increase in per resident city expenses year on year even though the city has become more populated with condos that pay stacks of property tax and should be more efficent to serve. This year the increase would be 18%. In leiu of raising property taxes, they've come up with this confiscatory tax grab targeted at people who own their own home.

    This is a double tragedy because for years Canadian cities ran a tight ship keeping the property tax mill rate ~1% in most jurisdictions.
     
  6. stretcher74

    stretcher74 New Member

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  7. DC_DEEP

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    Argh! Pecker, that's also been a pet peeve of mine. The Pennsylvania and Ohio Turnpikes are both federal property, id est, Interstate Highways. I've still not figured out how a state can legally appropriate a federal highway and arbitrarily decide to charge citizens additional taxes to drive on it. I had thought we already paid various federal and state and fuel taxes to fund those.

    And even with all the federal money and the toll money, the PA turnpike is in HORRIBLE condition.
     
  8. viking1

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    What would you expect? Virginia ain't even a state...it's a communistwealth!
     
  9. dolf250

    dolf250 New Member

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    Oh, please! Here in the “wild” west of Canada a car is seized automatically for DUI, before a trial and recently if you pick up a prostitute you car is also seized- again just on the charge of an officer. Private property my ass.

    Recently our mayor proposed to the province that he be given the power to levy certain fees; a property transfer fee (+/-$2500 per transaction), an entertainment fee, an extra fee on fuel and even though we already pay for license plates he would like to tack on a “municipal” fee if we register our vehicle in his city. In total he proposed somewhere around 45 new “fees” to help the city pay for his projects.:censored: And this in the “conservative” west; not even the mayor of a relativity liberal hogtown dares to propose such things.
     
  10. kalipygian

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    Connecting fund raising and law enforcement is inherently corrupting, and should be unconstitutional.
     
  11. B_NineInchCock_160IQ

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    e-fucking-zactly. Getting a fair trial in Fairfax County traffic court is next to impossible. Judges who DO try to give fair trials and don't have their conviction rates up to par are pressured to move or retire. At certain points during the month you can just TELL that they are trying to fill quotas because all of a sudden there is another patrol car on the side of the road writing a ticket every couple of miles. They can issue "reckless driving" citations for ANYTHING at the cop's discretion- and that's a SERIOUS offense. Not a traffic infraction like speeding, but an actual misdemeanor. I know more than one state trooper personally that has admitted to me just making shit up. It's sad going to the court house, seeing the hundreds of sorry fucks there every day filing in and out, almost all of them stopping by the cashier's window on the way out to offer their donation to the state and county coffers. and with these new fines... one dumb mistake might cost you a month's pay initially, more if you factor in the repercussions on your insurance, and the fact that if you go back, whether the first ticket was bupkiss or not, they'll just assume you're a repeat offender.
     
  12. hung9mike

    hung9mike Well-Known Member

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    Having grown up in the police state known as Virginia, I'm not surprised at all by this new scheme devised by the brownshirts in Richmond. I'm with NIC on this one, I think the people that use the roads should be the ones who pay for them. Raising gasoline taxes is as good a way as any to impose a "voluntary tax" on those who choose to use the roads and would have the side benefits of encouraging less driving and rewarding those who purchase more fuel-efficient vehicles.

    And as some of you probably already know: Radar detectors are illegal to own (not just to use, but to actually possess) in Virginia. So I'd be especially careful if you're driving through.
     
  13. DC_DEEP

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    My partner and I always bristle at that when we come across the bridge from DC back into Virginia and see that sign (we are such libertarians!)

    We don't have a radar detector, but if we did, and if we got a ticket for it, I would definitely take it to court. I'm wondering how, if challenged, that "law" could hold up in court. Of course, I'm guessing it would have to go up beyond any Virginia courts and probably have to go to a US district or circuit court. It would be kinda fun to have something like that stricken down by a federal judge, though...
     
  14. B_NineInchCock_160IQ

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    I've sat through traffic court many mornings and seen that law upheld almost every time I've been there. Like I said, getting a fair trial is next to impossible. It's revolving door justice there. They're illegal to own because they're afraid they might hurt their profit margins. If you wanted to get out of the ticket you'd at the very least have to appeal once I think, maybe get a jury trial. Of course then you're liable to pay the salary of the jurors if you are still found guilty.

    Whenever I see those signs "Welcome to Virginia" when leaving the district I usually mutter to myself "please have your license and registration ready..."
     
  15. D_Loveday Rubberhose

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    This is why it's important to exercise your right to vote and encourage all like-minded individuals to do the same.
     
  16. Hatched69

    Hatched69 Member

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    Remind me to avoid east coast travel....:redface:

    NO MORE GASOLINE TAX!! :mad: :mad: As a small service business owner trying to service customers in a 150 mile radius, simply passing on the rising costs of fuel to the customers doesn't always cut it! I pay enough bloody taxes just to keep the doors open the way it is! I don't feel folks like myself should have to shoulder the expense of other "neglectful" drivers. Too bad the laws of the Autobahn could not be put in place and enforced here in the U.S.. That'd make folks think twice about their driving habits.:smile: :eek:

    There are also too many "government officials" that get free rides when they're caught offending the law. Perhaps they should be held accountable for their offenses the same as the rest of. Just how much revenue would THAT generate? There's also a lot of people that get their tickets "pulled", especially here in my town. I live on a road that has a 30MPH limit, yet there's been numerous times our town constable has written citations for people doing 80+ MPH only to have the tickets ripped up. His point....why bother writing tickets if the courts don't back the law? Are they waiting until someone gets killed, THEN go "why oh why"??
    There's a lot of things that could be done on the local level before "ridiculous" fines need to be imposed. Simply (re)enforcing the laws we have would be a good start.
     
  17. Rikter8

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    Well, they're trying to do the same thing here in MI.

    The Woodward Dream Cruise has been an awesome cruise and car show.
    Now, supposedly this year, enforcing stiff fines for anyone doing burnouts, OR cruising. they claim it's Due to the recent car crash that killed several people because it went out of control. (Never mind the fact that some dumbass put water on the road for more spin, or bleach for a more smoky burnout, Its not their fault)

    Cruising by the way...is what the woodward is all about. Driving your car up and down woodward.

    They didn't say anything about controlling pedestrians that sit with their lawn chairs RIGHT ON the right lane of woodward, with their legs extended out... OR the asshole firemen that just pull out infront of anybody with their golf carts...

    They're just picking on people that are driving now to generate any revenue possible, no matter if your at fault, or not.

    AND recently our state has announced that anyone caught drag racing on the streets will have their cars crushed.
    If you know the consequences, why in the world would you pull over at the sight of the red gumdrop from hell?

    I say we do a Cannonball run and piss all the states off.
     
  18. Hatched69

    Hatched69 Member

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    Where's Jack Elam when you need him the most...???:cool: :rolleyes:



    (yeah, I know.....deceased, 2003)...
     
  19. mindseye

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    I'm bumping this thread to announce a recent development:

    Yesterday, a Henrico County (VA) judge struck down the "abusive driver" fees as unconstitutional. Because the state can enforce the "fees" only on drivers licensed in Virginia, and not on out-of-state drivers passing through on Virginia's highways, the judge ruled that the fees violated equal protection laws.

    The judge's ruling applies only inside Henrico County, but is likely to be applied statewide if appealed.

    Source: The Roanoke Times
     
  20. Principessa

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    When my dad was in the army back during the Korean Conflict if you got stopped for speeding in Virginia you had to pay the cop who stopped you in cash. So I guess this is progress.

     
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