Saturday, February 19, 2005

Why raise taxes mayor, we have red light cameras

On 2/15/05 at the Texas Legislature's Committee on Urban Affairs HB 269 was debated and voted through committee. A myriad of mayors & police chiefs testified against the bill at the hearing to keep their cash cow red light cameras. HB 269 will correct a piece of legislation that was introduced without warning last session. The red light camera bill had already been voted out of the house of reprensentatives when this sneaky bit of language was added into an obscure bill. The strong push for the red light cameras last session came from the Dallas & Houston areas. Both areas of the state have already implemented the cameras and have been generating revenues based on these systems. Red light cameras, in theory, support public safety by way of reducing red light runners and making the world a better place. Isn't that idealistic? Really now, it all boils down to the one thing that we all can't get enough of, money. The real fact of the matter is that regular Joe taxpayer who has to work for a living and barely has time to pick up his kid from school runs a red light. He is now fined $180 dollars and the mayor never has to raise taxes. Who in the world has never run a red light? The fact of the matter is that if red light cameras were implemented cities would not raise taxes temporarily. By slipping another tax into society by the tricky disguise of public safety, the cities would naturally be able to do more for it's citizens, but at the cost of everyone. Isn't that a tax? Red light cameras also have been proven ineffective in actually reducing the amount of accidents and in some cases have increased accidents, contrary to waving the giant flag of public safety. I forgot to mention that auto insurance rates do not decrease when these new safety measures are implemented. It gets better. The red light cameras that were started in San Diego where soon removed because the civil contractor was abusing the system to raise revenues. Compounded with the problem of ineffectiveness, abuse of the system is definitely the icing on the cake. There is not a payoff here, inherent or otherwise, just another alternative to taxation.


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