Comptroller Stringer: City Fines Generate New, Record-high Revenue
Revenues from fines rise 4 percent over last fiscal year
City collected nearly $1 billion in fines in FY 2016 – a 16 percent jump since FY 2012
”Quality of Life” violations jump 50 percent since 2013, to 700,000; revenues up 37 percent
The City collected $993 million in fines in FY 2016, a new record high for fine collection and a 16 percent increase since FY 2012, according to new data released today by Comptroller Scott M. Stringer. While parking violations account for, by far, the largest category of fines, the rise was fueled by a spike in quality of life violations. The City issued nearly 700,000 quality of life violations in FY 2016, up 51 percent since FY 2013, generating a total of $184 million. Parking violations accounted for 55 percent of all revenues from fines in FY 2016, now reaching $545 million in FY 2016.
“Fines are an important tool to discourage behavior that can be harmful to others, like with Vision Zero. At the same time, with cost of living rising and rents soaring, New Yorkers feel squeezed, and unnecessary fines or overly-aggressive enforcement don’t help,” said Comptroller Scott M. Stringer. “We release this data to deliver transparency, and to find out where we can improve. We have to keep working to strike the right balance between effective enforcement and not overburdening our residents.”
New York City imposes fines for violations of various City laws and regulations, including regulations related to parking, building codes, consumer affairs, and public health and safety. Among fines:
The City issues anywhere between 9 and 11 million parking tickets per year. In FY 2016, parking violations raised $545 million, or 55 percent of all total City revenues from fines. Revenue from parking tickets has risen $32 million between FY 2012 and FY 2016.
Since 2010, speed cameras have been installed at 150 intersections. Red light camera revenues peaked in FY 2011 at $71 million and have been falling since as the number of tickets dropped, likely due to increased motorist awareness.
“Quality of Life” violations such as littering and noise pollution, sidewalk violations and public health and safety violations generated $184 million, rising $41 million between FY 2012 and FY 2016. Approximately 700,000 “quality of life” violations were issued last year, roughly two-thirds of which came from the Department of Sanitation for improper waste disposal, dirty sidewalks, and other trash or public cleanliness infractions.
Over that timeframe, revenues from restaurants and other small business violations have decreased by $27 million, consistent with Mayor de Blasio’s “Small Business First” initiative to ease the burden on small businesses.
In FY 2016, revenue from fines placed against retail stores and tobacco dealers totaled $10 million, 33 percent less than collections of $14 million in FY 2012.