Parking ticket surcharge faces hurdle

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Philadelphia city councilman wants to add a surcharge to parking tickets and he says that could raise $2-million a year.

In these lean economic times, Philadelphia City Councilman Mark Squilla says he has come up with a new way to generate revenue without raising taxes.

"The administration was asking us to come up with alternatives, to come up with different types of funding sources," Squilla said.

The councilman's proposal, which has already been passed by a council committee, would add a $4 surcharge to each and every parking ticket doled out in the city.

Squilla says that would raise another $2-million dollars a year, half of which would go to Parks and Recreation. The rest would go back to the Parking Authority to help them better enforce taxi and limousine regulations.

But the Mayor's Office says there is a built-in problem with this plan.

Officials with the Nutter Administration say it is state law that governs how parking fines and meter funds are distributed.

So, even if the $4 surcharge was enacted, by law the additional money would have to go to the school district, not the city.

Mayor Nutter's Office sent us a statement that says, "Council lacks the authority to direct the use of revenue in certain specific ways, thus rendering the $4 parking surcharge proposal illegal."

But Squilla says not so fast.

"There is already precedent of the surcharge being added to the tickets, that it it is legal, it was done by the state and as long as the city and the authority agreed on that, it would be permissible," Squilla said.

As the proposal's legality is debated inside City Hall, out on the street we had a hard time finding any public enthusiasm for the suggested surcharge.

"I think that's a little bit too much. I've already had a few parking tickets which I pay, they are already steep, so I'm not too crazy about an additional $4," David White of South Philadelphia said.

The proposal will now move on to the full council for a vote, but even if it passes, all indications are Mayor Nutter will veto the plan.

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