Whether on televised newscasts or online, the chattering Shutdown-Mageddon class all agree on one thing in regards to the looming Federal government shutdown: “The good news is that DC parking enforcement will be suspended!” [insert snicker here]
I never thought I’d be defending DC parking enforcement but it’s time we had an adult conversation here. I’ve certainly made light of DC’s relentless parking enforcement in the past although to be honest I have only received one ticket in 25 years that wasn’t my fault. Admittedly, that’s still one ticket too many but the Two Inviolable Rules of DC Parking are:
1. If you park illegally in DC you will get a ticket.
2. See Rule #1
Like it or not but parking meter fees and parking enforcement fines are revenue generators for cash-strapped DC. Can’t tax Virginia or Maryland commuters… well at least we can nab ‘em when they park illegally!
If I understand the 2012 DC budget these fees contribute to about $157 million in non-tax revenue. If the shutdown continues how will these revenues be made up? More taxes on DC residents? More cuts in services? We know our Masters in Congress won’t be kicking in any extra assistance to make up for their lack of adult supervision.
Commuters will have no incentive to pay parking meter fees and will park willy-nilly all day with little risk of being ticketed--it appears the police will only ticket the most egregious of violators. DC will also lose revenue and taxes generated from city parking garages since why would you pay $18 a day to park if you can freeload on the street? Restaurants and business in downtown already hurt by Shutdownapocalypse anticipate that metered parking will be available for customers but instead they will be clogged by the invasion of the parking squatters.
So is the elimination of DC parking enforcement a good thing? Nope. Just one more kick in the DC budget from our Congressional Overlords.
“Thank you Sir, may I have another?”