New York State relies on fine, fee, and surcharge revenue to fund government operations– including the functions of the courts and state agencies providing criminal justice, public safety, and victim services. This funding is generated via a complex set of state statutes, including penal, vehicle and traffic, environmental conservation, judiciary, and finance laws and is spent through the General Fund and a bevy of State Special Revenue Funds. No one state government entity or agency is charged with comprehensively reporting on the imposition, collection, and distribution of fine, fee, and surcharge revenue. The lack of comprehensive reporting on fine, fee, and surcharge imposition, collection, and distribution undermine Governor Andrew Cuomo’s stated vision for criminal justice reform: establishing a fairer, safer, and more just system. Reliance on fine, fee, and surcharge revenue also creates economic harm that conflicts with the state’s Regional Economic Development Council initiative, which seeks to empower communities to generate economic opportunity.
Read the full report to learn more: New York State Fine and Fee Revenue Lacks Transparency, Obscures Economic Harms
By Cara Long Corra
Cara Long Corra is a Senior Policy Analyst at the Fiscal Policy Institute.