Last edited by winston53660; 07-24-11 at 11:08 PM.
Fines absolutely SHOULD be according to income, for two reasons:
1) What amounts to minor aggravation for a wealthy person could make a poor person homeless. Traffic fines here are often roughly equal to a month's rent.
2) Poor people are targeted, ther's all kinds of racial profiling going on and the traffic court here is always full of poor people who were ticketed for things like not being able to afford insurance but having to drive to work. There's no public transportation here, either. Meanwhile I've seen more well-to-do people weaving, speeding, going through stop signs and red lights and never even getting pulled over. The playing field needs to be leveled.
"A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murder is less to fear"
Cicero Marcus Tullius
But with a fine, it is the individual that is being punished, not their income. As such, treating one individual differently than another on the basis of their income is discrimination. If the fines are based on a single flat-rate percentage of income, people would be treated equally and without discrimination (the exception being those who earn no income, but that would be because there would be no punishment in such a system that could act as a deterrent, so a punishment of some sort must be present. in those cases, the person can chose between a minimum level fine or community service. The community service option should be available to all persons, and the number of hours could be predetermined such as 5 hours per mile per hour over the speed limit a person was traveling)
Last edited by Tucker Case; 07-24-11 at 11:20 PM.
So let's take two people, one who made 35000 of taxable income and another one who earned 80,000 of taxable income, with all other factors being equal. They both pay the exact same rate on their income that falls within those brackets. They both pay the same rate for their first 8500, and they both pay the same for the first 34500. and they both pay the same rate fo rtheir income the rest of their income.
When teh rates are then taken as a whole, it may appear that the person with the lower income payed a lower rate, but in truth they paid the exact same rates for the same amounts of income. The other guy just had more income in the higher brackets so he obviously had to pay more taxes from that bracket. They were both treated identically, though.
this would be true if the lower income guy only made 5,000. In this case, his earned income in those brackets was $0. He paid in the exact same rate on that earned income as the guy who made 80,000, though. Of course, 25% of 0 it 0.
Last edited by Tucker Case; 07-24-11 at 11:44 PM.
I did find this that might be of interest:
The Equal Protection Clause was initially adopted primarily to limit or prohibit racial discrimination by the states. The courts have also applied it to proscribe other forms of invidious discrimination (e.g., based on religion, ethnicity, etc.). However, legislation often necessarily involves “discrimination” in the broader sense that groups of individuals or businesses are treated differently based on particular characteristics (e.g., amounts of income, type of business, uses of property, etc.) that in the abstract are unobjectionable. The clause was not intended to restrict legislation that imposed different tax or regulatory rules, for example, on retailers than on manufacturers. Thus, the U.S. Supreme Court has developed a stricter standard of review for laws that create “suspect classifications” or deprive someone of a “fundamental right” as a compared with more benign legislative classifications. The lines between the two categories (perhaps inevitably) blur at the edges. At times the Court has explicitly talked about a middle level of review.
- Strict scrutiny applies to “suspect classifications” (such as race or religion) or to denial of fundamental rights (such as the right to vote). The classification is constitutional only if there is a compelling reason for using the classification. If strict scrutiny applies, in most circumstances the classification will be unconstitutional.
- A rational basis test applies to economic regulation not involving suspect classifications and, thus, to most of the classifications involved in the tax laws. In general, a classification has a rational basis and is constitutional, if it reasonably related to or has some rational relationship to the objective the legislature sought to achieve. The rational basis test gives the legislature considerable flexibility in creating classifications.
Very few tax statutes have been struck down under the Equal Protection Clause. The U.S. Supreme Court has generally given states wide latitude to fashion tax classifications, perhaps more than in any other area of law. See San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriquez, 411 U.S. 1, 41 (1973), where the Court noted: “[T]hat in taxation, even more than in other fields, legislatures possess the greatest freedom in classification.”
Nevertheless, the U.S. Supreme Court has struck down a number of state tax statutes on equal protection grounds. Many (probably most) of these statutes have involved laws that discriminated against nonresidents or out-of-state businesses.
Some examples include:
- Imposing a higher state insurance premium tax on out-of-state insurance companies, Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. v. Ward, 470 U.S. 869 (1985);
- Paying rebates to residents, graduated based on how many years they had lived in-state, Zobel v. Williams, 457 U.S. 55 (1982);
- Local assessment practice that raised tax valuations to the amount of the sales price but otherwise assessed properties at a fraction of market value, Allegheny Pittsburgh Coal Co v. County Commission of Webster County, 488 U.S. 336 (1989). Compare Nordlinger v. Hahn, 505 U.S. 1 (1992) (statute that applied a similar rule did not violate equal protection).
The Minnesota Supreme Court has held that the Uniformity Clause of the Minnesota Constitution is no more restrictive than the Equal Protection Clause.
Although the Minnesota Constitution contains a specific clause that requires taxes to be “uniform upon the same class of subject[,]” the Minnesota courts have held repeatedly that this clause is no more restrictive than the Equal Protection Clause. Reed v. Bjornson, 253 N.W.2d 102, 105 (upholding the graduated individual income tax) appears to be the first case to establish this rule. The meaning of the Uniformity Clause remains a matter of state law and, thus, a change in the interpretation of the Equal Protection Clause by the U.S. Supreme Court should not be thought to “automatically” change the meaning of the Uniformity Clause. However, the Minnesota courts have fairly consistently followed federal interpretations of the Equal Protection Clause, since Reed v. Bjornson.
The Minnesota Supreme Court has set out a three-part test to determine if a tax classification satisfies the Uniformity Clause. Miller Brewing Co. v. State, 284 N.W.2d 353, 356 (1979). Under this test, the classification must:
- Not be “manifestly arbitrary or fanciful but must be genuine and substantial”;
- Be “genuine or relevant to the purpose of the law”; and
- The purpose of the statute must be one that the state can legitimately attempt to achieve.
The Minnesota courts have generally been very deferential to legislative tax classifications. In fact, the Minnesota Supreme Court has not struck down a tax statute for violating the Uniformity Clause in the last two decades. Some examples of laws upheld include:
- The limited market value law that taxes otherwise identical properties at different rates based upon how rapidly their values are increasing, Matter of McCannel, 301 N.W.2d 190 (Minn. 1980);
- Combined gross receipts gambling tax that imposes a higher tax rate on organizations with more total gross receipts from gambling activities, Brainerd Area Civic Center v. Commissioner of Revenue, 499 N.W.2d 468 (Minn. 1993);
- Contamination tax imposing higher property tax rates on polluted property, depending upon whether the owner was a responsible party and whether the owner had entered a response plan, Westling v. County of Mille Lacs, 518 N.W.2d 815 (Minn. 1998).
And back to traffic tickets:
Can You Plea-Bargain in a Traffic Case? That Depends
In New York State, Driver’s Ability to Negotiate a Traffic Ticket Depends on Who Wrote It - NYTimes.com
Last edited by winston53660; 07-24-11 at 11:52 PM.