* While residential property taxes are relatively low in Chicago, the city nickels and dimes you to death with fees and fines, partly designed to keep those property taxes relatively low…
Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Tuesday made no apologies for her methodical approach to an intractable problem: Chicago’s “addiction” to balancing its budget on the backs of those who can least afford it.
Lightfoot campaigned on a promise to bring equity to an overly punitive ticketing, towing and booting policy that has unfairly targeted minorities and forced thousands into bankruptcy.
She promised to raise the boot threshold, stop booting for non-moving violations and eliminate a hefty chunk of red light cameras at 149 intersections if those cameras were placed there to raise revenue — not increase safety.
She even promised to abolish city stickers that are the source of so many compliance tickets and replace them with higher fees on ride-hailing vehicles.
Compared to those lofty promises, the solutions Lightfoot is delivering seem somewhat timid. She’s ending driver’s license suspensions for non-moving violations, reducing exorbitant city sticker penalties, creating a six-month, universal payment plan and empowering booted scofflaws to request a 24-hour extension to pay their fines in full or get on a payment plan.
* From her new plan…
* Ending the practice of suspending driver’s licenses for non-moving violations.
* Reinstating the 15-day grace period to renew a city vehicle sticker before issuing a ticket.
* No longer doubling the $200 fine for not renewing a city vehicle sticker; the city currently doubles fines after 83 days.
* Halting the practice of issuing multiple tickets on the same day or consecutive days for vehicle sticker violations.
* Creating a six-month ticket payment plan open to every driver with unpaid fines, and granting more time to motorists facing financial hardship.
* Allowing drivers whose cars have been booted for unpaid fines a 24-hour extension to either pay their fines in full or enter into a payment plan before their car is towed to the pound.
* The Question: What’s the most annoying local fine or fee you’ve had to pay? Explain.