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12/21/2007
North Carolina: Court Rules Parking Ticket Profit Goes to Schools
A county judge rules that profit from university parking tickets and other vehicle fines must go to the public school system.

Judge Howard Manning
A superior court judge in North Carolina ruled last week that revenue from tax penalties, certain vehicle fines -- such as those issued to drivers of overweight trucks -- and parking tickets issued at a state university must be handed over to the public school system. Wake County Judge Howard Manning ruled in favor of the North Carolina School Boards Association which had sought $768 million in payments owed since 1997.

Manning applied the reasoning of a state appeals court decision, upheld by the state supreme court in June, that found that ninety percent of the revenue from red light camera tickets must go to the school system. These fines trigger Article IX, Section 7 of the North Carolina Constitution that directs "the clear proceeds of all penalties... shall be... used exclusively for maintaining free public schools" (read final opinion).

The constitutional provision removes the financial incentive from local government ticketing programs. After the state's high court made its ruling regarding photo citation profit, Charlotte, Fayetteville, Greenville, Greensboro, High Point and Raleigh shut down their red light camera programs.

Judge Manning has yet to issue a formal order laying out how the money should be paid.

Source: State Ponders How to Pay $700M Owed to Schools (WRAL-TV (NC), 12/17/2007)



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