Fines and forfeitures can be a relatively significant revenue source for municipalities. In 2017, they generated a total of $103,647,376 for Massachusetts cities and towns. Such revenue plugs holes in local budgets. According to MassAnalysis, the five municipalities with the highest fine and forfeiture revenue per capita generated a total of $75,232,513 in 2017, accounting for 78 percent of the statewide total.
Fines and forfeitures are collected from a variety of sources, including:
- parking and speeding tickets
- neglecting trash/snow removal
- property seizure during an investigation.
The fluctuation of state and federal aid municipalities receive in a fiscal year impacts how aggressively they pursue fine and forfeiture revenue.
In 2017, Boston generated half the fine and forfeiture revenue in the state – $93 per capita for a whopping total of $61,519,271. In Boston, the biggest contributor was parking fines, which generated $57 million. The city’s municipal website provides a complete and updated version of parking fines and penalty fees. According to the webpage, “revenue generated from higher parking fines will be invested in the continued implementation of transportation priorities established in Go Boston 2030, the city’s long term transportation plan.” Recently, Boston moved to charge the public $40 for parking 20 feet from an intersection.
Will this trend continue? Be sure to check out MassAnalysis regularly to find out.
Madeleine Cammarano is a Roger Perry Transparency Intern for Pioneer and recently graduated from the University of New Hampshire at Durham with a degree in political science.