State: License renewals down, fines up

Staff Report 

Despite warnings from lawmakers, many Illinois motorists are forgetting to renew their license plates after the Secretary of State’s office stopped sending notices in the mail.

That move, which was estimated to save the state between $450,000 and $500,000 a month, has led to a record number of fines being issued for late renewals.

According to the Associated Press, Illinois motorists paid nearly $2 million in fines for the month of March, bringing the total for the first quarter to a staggering $4.89 million. Last year, the state collected just $2.2 million in late fees during the first quarter.

“People have so much to worry about in their daily lives, and this reminder is one less thing they should be concerned with,” State Rep. Litesa Wallace said last October. “It is unfortunate that due to the governor’s unwillingness to work on a budget that individuals are at greater risk of being fined.”

Besides the $20 fee for late renewal with the state, many cities have seen an uptick in tickets issued for expired registrations since November 2015. Some lawmakers have called on police departments to stop issuing such tickets until a budget deal is reached in Springfield.

The state suspended emissions requirements in March following the Illinois EPA’s decision to cease mailing notices for the tests in December 2015.

Illinois is expected to hit the $10 billion mark in unpaid bills before the end of FY 2016.

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