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Driver Fee Forgiveness Hits A Roadblock

Cars on freeway

Bills to forgive Michigan’s controversial driver responsibility fees have cleared a state House committee. But, as we hear from Michigan Public Radio’s Rick Pluta, they’ve hit a road block. They’re opposed by Governor Rick Snyder’s Treasury department.

The fees are paid by people convicted of traffic offenses on top of their fines. They were adopted by the Legislature in 2003 to help keep the budget balanced during the recession.

Most of the fees will never be collected, but they still generate 80 million dollars a year for the state.

But House Speaker Tom Leonard says balancing the budget is no reason to continue charging fees that he considers unfair.

“The Number One issue for me with this is ensuring that the 350 thousand people that are currently without a driver’s license can get one back.” Says Leonard.

A state Treasury spokesman says the Snyder administration is trying to come up with a deal to get rid of the fees while keeping the budget balanced. 

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
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