New York Post
May 18, 2003

Where will it end?

Property taxes. Sales taxes. Income taxes.

Everything hiked. Add in the cigarette-tax hike, too - but that's "only" for health reasons. Ah, sure it is.

These have been among the announced hikes in various municipal taxes and fees.

However, the Bloomberg administration's frenzied lusting after more money to close its budget gap doesn't stop there.

According to Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch, the order has gone out to street cops: Fill your ticket quotas.

"The NYPD has become a summons-generating machine, generating millions of dollars to close the city's budget gap while eroding the relationship between the police and the communities they serve," says Lynch.

Lynch noted a jump of nearly 7 percent in summonses in the first few months of this year, compared with last year.

It's still a pretty serious charge for the head of the cops' union to make - and one that would otherwise be taken with a grain of salt.

After all, the NYPD has launched "Operation Silent Night" during this period - described in the following editorial - a quality-of-life initiative that has hauled in some very bad actors indeed.

Yet, the budget-balancing-by-ticketing charge fits, given other recent practices.

Post columnist Andrea Peyser reported last week that small businesses are being ticketed willy-nilly and facing huge fines for having "too many words" on their storefront awnings.

Of course, bars and restaurants are also being cited for smoking violations.

So, to us, Lynch's concern has the ring of truth to it.

The burden of the city overspending is already being borne by nearly all taxpayers as it is - again, in property, sales or income taxes (or all three).

It's nothing short of unconscionable to further undermine the livelihoods of hard-working New Yorkers with nuisance tickets and summonses.

All, ultimately, in the name of balancing the budget.

This is, of course, dangerous. Just as unduly burdensome taxation can drive people from the city, so too can nuisance ticketing and unfair regulations drive businesses away.

But, most dangerously, instituting ticket quotas (announced or otherwise), can undermine trust between the police and the public.

This is what happens when a mayor and a City Council don't have the guts to cut spending and stare down unions.

Where will it end?

When there's no one left to tax, no one left to ticket and no one left to summons.