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California governor floats cutting traffic fines for low-income drivers

Evie Fordham

California Gov. Gavin Newsom's recent state budget proposal included cutting traffic ticket fines in half for low-income residents, CBS 8 reported.

The state has more than $1.8 billion in fines for delinquent traffic citations. Officers issued 3.6 million traffic citations in 2019 from which the state only collected $1.4 billion in fines. A recent study suggested that high fines result in people avoiding paying them at all, according to CBS 8.

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The lower fines would apply to Californians making up to 125 percent of the poverty line, which equates to roughly $27,000 for a family of four, CBS 8 reported.

But not everyone agrees with the strategy.

"Why separate the lower-income folks from the higher income folks when it comes to driving?" San Diego resident Kevin Allen told CBS 8. "I think we just got to make sure we follow the law when it comes to driving your car."

Another San Diego resident, Eric Abramson, told CBS 8 he was in favor.

"I think it's a good idea, because some people of low income can be trapped in a cycle of a tax that's going to be the same or a ticket that's going to be the same as someone with a larger income that can pay that," Abramson said.

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Newsom presented a $222 billion budget proposal to state lawmakers Friday. That set off six months of hearings and negotiations before the Legislature must act by mid-June, which would be weeks before the fiscal year begins on July 1. The state also will have an estimated $107 billion in federal funds to spend in the next budget year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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