17 October 2008

10% of Texans have outstanding arrest warrants

"A couple of weeks ago, the local paper printed names of El Pasoans with outstanding arrest warrants. 78,000 El Pasoans made the paper! ... That's more than 10% of El Paso County's entire population!

"When we compared Austin, same story... 11% of Austin has outstanding arrest warrants."

In 2003, on the House floor, Rep. Diane Delisi told Texans that the “Driver Responsibility” bill was needed "to improve driver’s behavior." Everyone in Austin knew that the real story was money... Texas now had a $10 billion budget deficit...

During debate, a study of the bill based on New Jersey’s Act showed exactly who would pay the freight—low-income citizens. To make the bill more popular, ticket revenue was tied to trauma care.

At the time, Senator John Whitmire and others said, "Watch out—here comes the ‘chain gang.'” For the first time, fees, tickets and tuition paid for sizable chunk of the Texas budget. Under the bill, fees escalate dramatically. Theoretically, after three tickets, a driver can owe $3,000 and more, depending on the offense. And if you can’t pay, you go to jail.

And that is exactly what happened. Nearly one in ten Texans can’t pay: students, single mothers, working families, essentially low and even middle income Texans whose income can’t keep up with gas, insurance, taxes and tickets too.
I can't vouch for the validity of the data, but it's interesting. Found at Grits for Breakfast.

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