JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A new law reducing the amount a city can raise for its general revenue through traffic tickets and fees became official last week, and the Missouri Department of Revenue is laying out new guidelines for local governments collecting beyond the new limit.
The DOR’s move amounts to a re-write of the existing departmental rules, and states that any local government found to be in violation of the new cap set for revenue raised through traffic tickets will be forced to pay the excess funds to the department directly.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Eric Schmitt, lowers the cap on traffic ticket revenue from 30 percent to 20 percent for each locality around the state, but lowers it down to 12.5 percent in the St. Louis area.
The bill garnered significant attention in the wake of protests in Ferguson following the shooting death of Michael Brown, as many lawmakers on both sides of the aisle found themselves publicly criticizing cities that used their police departments are revenue generators.
The DOR announced the emergency rule — because it takes immediate effect — also codifies that a city failing to remit excess funds in the appropriate manner will be subject to various penalties as laid out in the new law, which can include disincorporation.
Collin Reischman was the Managing Editor for The Missouri Times, and a graduate of Webster University with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.