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Laws That Punish The Innocent, Are Really Just Another Form of Hidden Taxation

I was recently pulled over for speeding, but was I really?

Speed Trap
Speed Trap


Well, yes, technically I was speeding, but I wasn’t accelerating.  In fact, my foot was on the brake, so how can I be speeding?  Ironically of the three cars going down the street, I’m the only one that got a ticket.  The real kicker was that I was going slower than the other two cars (as they were pulling away from me since I was behind them), but I’m the one that got pulled over.  Why?  Because I was easy prey since my car was the last of the three cars going down the street.

Now the officer that pulled me over gave me a warning because of some decent verbal dancing, and the points that I made (or so I like to believe), but I’m sure others did get a ticket.

In many ways it’s very hard to go exactly 25 mph down the road that I was on.  My wife is constantly drifting to over 30 mph on that road, and I’m sure she is sick of me continually warning her (after all, I don’t want to get a real speeding ticket)!

The experience made me think of how many innocent people fall victim to such laws that seem like a hidden tax that exists to make the city money?  In my case, I actually get yelled at from my family for driving as slowly as I do.  So what a huge irony it would be for me to get a speeding ticket!

About 5 years ago, I got a small fine for parking in front of my house out on the street.  Apparently, unlike other cities, my city has a law that says you can’t park out on the street after a certain time.  Of course that’s not common knowledge… how unfair in my opinion…

Then we have the seat belt law, which I have huge disagreement with.  What if I were overweight and had problems with the belt?  I bet I would still get a ticket from an overzealous police officer.

Then you have complexities with the Taxing system.  Shoot, even Tim Geithner screwed up with hiring a housekeeper without paying taxes (along with others in the government).  I think it’s funny that top government officials can’t even avoid messing up the law.  I wonder why others in government don’t realize how bad it make us look when even top government officials cannot follow these incredible complex laws?  Are they bad guys too, or just victims like most of us of an complex legal system.

I starting to wonder if such complex and nonuniform laws are just a way to increase the revenue base for the various forms governments?  I wonder how much money a city brings in ticketing “speeding” drivers and other unusual laws?  I bet the revenue from ticketing and fining people that aren’t really bad guys is much higher than imagined.  To me it’s starting to seem like a another type of taxation, albeit hidden…

Thanks for listening to my rant,



22 Responses to Laws That Punish The Innocent, Are Really Just Another Form of Hidden Taxation

  1. Speed traps drive me crazy. There is a known one about 2 miles from my house. It is one a major street, and when you cross from one city to the other, the speed limit drops from 45 to 40 for no reason. The ‘environment’ is the same, it doesn’t suddenly become a downtown or even a business area. It is just a street with trees. There is a hidden driveway owned by the city, and the police love to sit there and wait because they are hidden by some trees, and it is about 100 yards into the new speed limit area. I can’t count how many people I see pulled over that don’t even realize the speed limit has suddenly changed.

    Glad you didn’t get a ticket MR! I will say though that I am on the other end of the spectrum, I don’t mind that people get ticketed for wearing seat belts. If I am a little kid sitting in the backseat, I want the driver to be securely in the drivers seat in the case of an accident.

    • Yeah, I hate speed traps and other sneakier fines, There is a city nearby that has all of their speed limits set at 35 mph. People are always getting ticketed when they cross the city limits because of this.

      I’m not against seatbelts (I see the value in them), but I think people should have a choice… Not everyone is comfortable in them and the belts can even cause a degree of pain unless you are in top to at least decent shape.

  2. I once read that the average police officers generates over $220 thousand in fines for their city. I also read that with so many states and counties facing budget problems, they’re getting much more aggressive with fines. So yes, you are right, it is like a tax hike.

    However, I am all for it!

    Let’s face it, government services are not free, and just like everything else, the costs are rising. To pay for it they can raise the taxes and make EVERYONE pay more or they can get more aggressive with fines and at least give me a chance and an opportunity to avoid paying more. Even if I do get caught, a $200 ticket will be way cheaper than an increase in my property tax.

    As for government officials breaking tax laws, that has more to do with them thinking they can get away with things.

    • Wow $220,000 is quite a bit of invisible taxation! I had no idea it’s that high!

      I don’t know, I think you will find that eventually you too will fall victim to such finds. Not to mention the needless additional stress for no reason at all.

      I respectfully disagree with having such a hidden tax system. It’s makes life less enjoyable in my opinion.

      I hate the inconvenience of getting stopped when I’m trying to get to work or pick up my son, or just enjoying driving in general.

      Besides, don’t we pay the police officers to something more than give out speeding tickets and fines for unknown local city laws and speed traps? This is a form of evil in my opinion.

      If you were to come and visit someone in my area, and you left your car out in front of the house on the curb for the night, you would get a fine because you didn’t know that there was a local city law that prohibits that move… Even though all of the other surrounding cities don’t have an equivalent law.

      Of course it could just be that I’m bitter, because I was riding the break down a hill and still got a ticket (that was a warning)… just seems pretty unfair to me.

  3. My husband was just telling me about an article he read where some municipalities are starting to outsource the meter maid function. In essence, the 3rd party contractor gets a commission for every fine they hand out.

    In the places it’s been implemented revenues have doubled and tripled. Yes, it’s definitely a way to generate additional tax revenue and some people are trying to maximize that fact.

    • It feels like the cities are becoming parasites! I wonder if they remember that they are noting without the citizens that live there. Hopefully some wise politician will wake up and run on the principal of getting rid of such tactics

  4. It all boils down to meeting numbers and revenue.

    If you see a parking meter is about to expire and if you put in some quarters, you can be fined if the car doesn’t belong to you. What possible explanation can be there for this stupid law?

    Sorry to hear about your ordeal MR. At least you got off with just a warning!

    • Wow, so if you are a good guy and decide to put some change in a parking meter to help someone out, you could get fined from being a decent individual! Wow, that really sucks!

      Yeah, it was nice getting a warning, but it’s still the principal of the matter. The speed on the road was way to low, and the police constantly try to ticket people. They guy that gave me a warning told me that he already got 20 individuals that day, and it wasn’t even noon yet!

  5. I recently got a ticket in the on ramp of the HOV lane. The problem is, other drivers were reversing out of the lane when they saw the cop but I decided not to break the law by going backwards on a road and I still got the ticket. No warning for me, it was definitely a trap.

  6. You are very lucky, since this is the new source of revenue for cities and towns. Second best source of revenue is parking tickets then fees.

    • I have a relative that during a early morning commute to work barely ran a red light (no other cars were on the road that early). The light camera got her and she had to pay a fine. Chaching more money for the city… Suck to be human these days.

  7. “Strip-mining the citizenry” is an expression I heard that best describes it. Junk fees and hidden taxes and speed traps. Since when to speed traps equate with ” to protect and to serve”?
    Glad you were able to talk your way out of it.
    Stringtown in Oklahoma on highways 69/75 is a notorious speed trap. The town rakes about half their budget from travelers who have no idea they’re passing through a town, mostly because the city actually extended their city limits to have frontage along the freeway.

    • Wow, that is out and out rotten of Oklahoma to do!

      The citizens suffer when cities do stuff like this! Don’t they understand how wrong this is? Are they that inconsiderate for their fellow man/woman that they stab them in the back by performing such life zapping tactics…

  8. It’s definitely a hidden form of taxation, and a pretty sneaky one, to boot. That said, I can kind of see Jim’s point. The towns and cities need revenue, and being able to generate it without having to increase taxes serves to help balance the budget without putting the burden on residents or business owners. (The fact that the people getting pulled over and fined are likely non-residents with no power to vote out the politicians who created the policy being a complete coincidence, I’m sure.)

    That said, I can see it being a slippery slope situation. You start seeing ‘quotas’ for police, whether official or unofficial, covering how many people they need to ticket. There’s increasing pressure to pull people over and fine them, regardless of how much of a threat they actually faced. You see police being diverted from solving real crimes to being on traffic patrol. Given the choice between facing higher local taxes or having the police pulling over and fining more people, I’d opt for the former. (Even if most of the people being fined aren’t locals, due to both their knowledge of the local roadways and, let’s be honest, the fact that if the police start fining too many locals, there’s likely to be a backlash during the next elections.)

    • I’m too simple of such tactics. In my simple world, police are there to protect and server, not to protect, serve, and collect taxes on innocent people via speed traps or unknown laws that just serve to increase a cities income.

      Bad form I say… at least IMHO…

      Ironically, one city that has speed traps and I actually did get a ticket in, is now one I never, NEVER go in again and purchase anything. So indirectly it hurt their community instead of helping them (and I use to go there for lunch a few times every week). I know others that had the same experience that I had in this one small city and they don’t go into that particular city anymore either to buy things. I wonder if they realize how it hurts them in the long run 🙂