Facing a more than $13 billion budget deficit Illinois is now grasping at straws in apparent desperation to find additional funds. The latest solution from the state’s leaders is to raise the fees for all speeding tickets in the state.
As a frequent driver on Illinois highways, particularly in the area of Chicago, there is no doubt that this is indeed a source of endless revenue. On most of the highways in the area the posted speed limit is 55 miles per hour. However, the average speed of drivers is about 80 miles per hour and with so much traffic exceeding the speed limit it’s rare to find a driver who is actually obeying the law. In fact, it often seems unsafe to drive the speed limit on the highways around Chicago.
Beginning September 15th, the fine for speeding will increase by an additional $45, which is about a 60 percent increase. The current fine of $75 for speeding less than 20 miles above the posted speed limit will now be a whopping $120. This applies to those who are ticketed and do not have to appear in court. Other traffic related fines are also increasing. Fines for failing to wear a seat belt will also increase as are the fines for driving in Illinois without a license.
Those who support the increases point to the fact that Illinois hasn’t increased the fees for these offenses since 1993. While that may be true, the cost for everything else in Illinois has certainly increased. Among the recent increases Illinois residents are paying huge increases for renewing a drivers license, registering a vehicle, renewing a vehicle sticker, parking, sales tax (the highest in the nation), and even cigarettes. If re-elected the Democrats leading the state’s government will almost certainly increase the states income tax as well.
With unemployment at unprecedented levels, this is not a good time to raise taxes. Raising fees for speeding tickets and so many other services amounts to more tax on the citizens of Illinois. These fee increases will do nothing to improve safety on Illinois highways that could not be accomplished by simply enforcing the speed limit. This increase will also fail in solving the real problem which is the out of control spending in Illinois government compounded by a tax system that drives business elsewhere.
On the other hand, with only a few weeks remaining until the next election the voters of Illinois now have one more reason to vote come November. These new increases in speeding fines are just one more example of the growing need for change in Illinois government.
“Speeding becomes a high-ticket items as fines rise,” Dave McKinney and Stefano Esposito, Chicago Sun Times, Retrieved from: http://www.suntimes.com/news/transportation