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Boston City Lawmaker Pushes For Income-Based Parking Fines

Boston City Councilor Julia Mejia said that low-income parking violators should have to pay less than everyone else.

Boston, MA – A Boston city councilor with a history of racking up parking tickets has proposed imposing parking fines based on violators’ incomes.

During a weekly meeting at City Hall on Wednesday, Boston City Councilor Julia Mejia said that paying fines associated with parking violations puts too large of a burden on low-income families, WBZ reported.

“What happens when you’re struggling to juggle all your finances?” Mejia asked. “Then you realize that you are deciding whether or not you are going to pay a parking ticket or put food on the table.”

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Mejia, who racked up $159 in her own parking fines before she came into office, said that she is not trying to eradicate fines for low-income parking offenders altogether.

“I don’t think people should just get away from paying their fee,” she told WBZ. “I think we have to find ways to make it easier for people to pay that debt.”

Currently, Boston’s parking violators can expect to pay tickets ranging from $15 to $120, which can increase if they aren’t paid on time, WCVB reported.

“I felt that pinch,” Mejia said of her own parking fines, which she paid off after she was elected, according to The Boston Globe.

She said that she believes establishing a sliding-fee scale based off of incomes verified by offenders’ taxes could work.

“When you have a $40 ticket, that could be food off the table for two or three days for a family,” she reiterated.

In a series of Twitter polls, the city councilor asked social media users about their struggles with parking citations.

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Approximately 62 percent of respondents said they had not been ticketed for a parking violation in the past two years.

Of those who had been cited, 36.4 percent said they paid a fine between one dollar and $50. Another 45.5 percent of respondents were fined between $51 and $100, and $18.2 percent said they were required to pay in excess of $200 in fines.

A whopping 84.2 percent said that their parking fines did not prevent them from being able to pay for childcare, food, rent, or other necessities.

According to a Twitter poll conducted by WBZ on Wednesday, 84 percent of citizens said they believe parking ticket fines should not be determined based off of income, and that they should be the same for everyone.

“If you park where you’re not supposed to park, pay the price,” one resident told WPVI.

The city council has not yet scheduled a public hearing to discuss Mejia’s proposal.

Holly Matkin - February Fri, 2020

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