Fines and fees make recessions worse.

During the Great Recession, jurisdictions across the country increased the amount of existing fines and fees, introduced new fees, and made their budgets more reliant on fine and fee revenue. But fines and fees didn’t get us out of the recession. They exacerbated poverty, fueled policing-for-profit, and trapped millions in debt. 

Has your locality changed their fines and fees policies during the COVID-19 recession? Have they made them better or worse?

Stimulus money is being taken away from the people who need it most.

People who owe fines and fees can have their entire stimulus payments garnished from. Though the CARES Act and ARPA were intended to promote an equitable recovery, we’re seeing an alarming number of cases of corrections departments, state and local governments garnishing stimulus checks from people living in poverty and those in the criminal legal system.

We can end this misguided policy.

Relying on fines and fees to raise funds hurts everyone — families, businesses and government. For our communities to flourish again, we must reform our fines and fees policies and move toward more equitable, effective ways of funding governments.

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