Illinoisans pay 2nd-highest local government fines, fees in nation

Illinoisans pay 2nd-highest local government fines, fees in nation

Illinoisans gave up $50 on average to fines and fees last year. That’s the second-most in the nation and almost double the U.S. average.

Illinoisans get tagged with the nation’s second-highest fines and fees, which at $50 per person is nearly double the national average of $27.

New data shows Illinoisans paid the second-most in fines and fees to local governments in the nation. New York was No. 1.

The Reason Foundation’s study looked at fines and fees from local governments across the nation compared to the number of residents for 2020, the most recent data available.

Illinois local governments collected $50 per capita from residents, nearly double the national average of $27.

Local governments nationwide collected nearly $9 billion from fines and fees, which include:

  • Penalties imposed for violations of the law.
  • Civil penalties (e.g., for violating court orders).
  • Court fees, if levied upon conviction of a crime or violation.
  • Court-ordered restitution for crime victims where the government collects the monies.
  • Forfeits of deposits held for performance guarantees or against loss or damage.

In Ullin, Illinois, 45% of 2020 revenue came from fines and fees. That’s more than $700 per capita in the far Southern Illinois village. Nearby Mounds City, Illinois, got 47.5% of its revenue from fines and fees – $603 per capita.

Chicago is known for ticketing motorists at automated red light and speed cameras, even those going 6 mph over the speed limit.

An Illinois Policy Institute investigation found despite issuing over 1 million tickets in the first half of 2022, Chicago’s speed cameras have failed to deliver the promised safety improvements – fatalities actually increased.

The cameras did deliver a lot of cash: $36 million. It contradicts Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who campaigned on a promise to change the city’s “addiction” to fines and fees.

Early voting has started ahead of the Feb. 28 city election. Those who vote from the comfort and safety of their homes can research where the candidates stand on these important issues and assess how likely they will be to lead Chicago away from its fine addiction as well as problems with city pensions, education and corruption.

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