Virginia politics, policy and entertainment from the Greater Richmond-Washington Metro Area perspective.

Dave Albo: Tax Hiker, Self-Dealer

I awoke this glorious Virginia morning, poured myself a glass of OJ and flipped open a copy of today’s Washington Post. I do this a lot of mornings because I think it is important to observe what the enemy is thinking and because getting a bit angry (when reading yet another America-bashing, terror-cheering, troop-undermining, article from a paper that looks good only in comparison to the execrable New York Times) gets the heart rate up and nicely substitutes for a morning jog. As I perused this mornings collection of leftwing blather, I came across this little item.

It would seem that Fairfax’s own Del. Dave Albo got a piece of legislation through that imposes draconian civil fines on drivers pulled over for speeding in Virginia. The fine for getting tagged going 78 mph in a 55 mph would be $1000 on top of the $200 fine that a court would impose.

But wait, it gets worse! This civil fine tack-on is completely unenforceable against out-of-state drivers, so say you and some guy from New York were both pulled over doing 78 mph on the Beltway. You, the Virginian, are going to pony up $1200, while the New Yorker is going to pay $200 and speed off on his merry way. In effect, these fines are a massive new state tax dumped on the backs of Virginia taxpayers.

Now Albo claims that these draconian, back-breaking civil fines will produce large amounts of revenue for snow clearing and road repair in Northern Virginia. What he fails to mention is that enormous costs are going to be imposed on the court system, as drivers who once would have paid nuisance fines, will now be contesting these tickets, clogging the courts and burying local prosecutors under thousands of cases that would never be tried under the current system. An overwhelmed docket and buried prosecutors offices means that the state will have to spend more to hire lots of new judges and new prosecutors. Albo claims to have gotten this fantastic idea from the State of New Jersey–you know, the one-party, Democrat-controlled State of New jersey, which by the way carries one of the five heaviest state tax burdens in the country and has a budget crisis that is threatening to bankrupt the state.

In truth, the only winners coming out of this steaming pile of…er…legislation…are the trial lawyers who specialize in defending traffic infractions. And guess what? What does Old Dave Albo do for a living? You guessed it, he is the founder and name partner of one of the biggest traffic infraction defense firms in the Commonwealth.So Dave Albo isn’t just an idiotic legislator who came up with an incomprehensibly bad idea and then got it enacted into law, he is a self-dealing, sleazebag who came up with a scam that would fatten his wallet while brutalizing Virginia drivers.

I have seen this movie once before living in New York, where a once vital Republican Party was destroyed by George Pataki, a tax-happy idiot, who governed like a left wing Democrat and who used the power of the state to dole out lucre and fatten the bank accounts of his cronies. In truth, Delegate Albo has gone one better than Pataki by eliminating the payments to cronies and pocketing the state-created largesse for himself. People wonder why the Republican Party in Northern Virginia is going the way of the dodo bird. Well wonder no more. Just look at Delegate Albo, a Republican who has adopted the very Democrat habit of using state largesse to fatten his own wallet at the expense of ordinary Virginians.

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41 Responses to “Dave Albo: Tax Hiker, Self-Dealer”

  1. novagop

    You know as a conservative I have thought about this alot and I think the abusive driver fees are great. They only affect those who abuse our roads.
    I am absolutely sick of those constantly abusing the traffic laws. Everyday it seems I am cut off in traffic or passed on 66 by those going well over 80. Maybe those who constantly drive poorly will think twice before doing so if they are fined.

  2. rittinger

    They are great except for the fact that they create more new costs then the revenue they draw in. I can guarantee you, based on what happened in the Garden State, that people are going to go to court now instead of paying the fine. Tack on a couple of extra hours of a state prosecutor’s time per case, tack on a couple more hours of the court being open, and you have eaten up that extra $1000. The only people who make money are lawyers like Dave Albo. And even if the costs were a good idea, Albo should have had the intelligence to realize that the perception of a conflict of interest is there for all to see.

    Note: This story is hitting the national news. Albo is already a laughingstock on conservative websites like National Review and Townhall. One can only imagine what the Democrats will do with this story.

  3. novagop

    Rittinger, if it ends up costing more money than raising it I will definitely agree with you but I will be very interested to see how this unfolds but if this gets the worst drivers to pay more attention after they are fined then I think it will be well worth it. I just cannot tell you how sick and tired I am of the aggressive and abusive and drunk drivers out there right now. If this makes them pay than I am all for it.

    As for the democrats, they voted for this as well and Timmy Kaine signed it so I don’t think the noise coming from them will be too loud either. In the end, if the revenue outweighs the cost I think it will be a net benefit for those of us who live and commute here in Virginia.

  4. Anyon

    Don’t forget about so called Republican Tom Rust who also helped create this legislation–the same Tom Rust who wanted to devolve transportation projects to local counties forcing them to establish millions of dollars in new bureaucracy and no results.

  5. Anke Cheney

    “You know as a conservative I have thought about this alot and I think the abusive driver fees are great.”

    They would be, novagop, if they would also be applied to out-of-state drivers who are some of the worst miscreants (I swear the MD driver’s manual must include such things as “do not use turn signals,” “do not leave more than 6″ between moving vehicles,” and “speed limit signs are merely suggested speed.”)

    I too am tired of trying very hard to obey traffic regulations only to be abused by other drivers on the road and fear that I’m going to be run over by the traffic. The answer, however, is not an arbitrary “tax” that only applies to Virginia citizens. That’s only going to create an additional segment of the driving public that’s going to be abused by drivers not affected…and much more road rage.

  6. NotNotJayHughes

    Jim:

    Also, depending on revenue from fines to build roads is just poor fiscal management. Transportation infrastructure needs reliable, constant funding for building and maintenance. Fine revenue is notoriously risky because after a while people begin modifying their behavior to avoid the fine. No crime means no fine which means less money for roads.

    The other side of this is execution of the law. Some law enforcement officials who pull drivers over for excessive speeding will “fudge” the summons by writing down a speed slower than what they were actually driving so they won’t have to pay the draconian fine.

    The problem on our roads isn’t the people driving fast yet safely. It’s the aggressive drivers who weave in and out of traffic, tail-gate, etc. These are the people we need to hit with hard fines.

  7. anonymous

    Another way to look at this is that Dave Albo, a results-oriented statesman with professional experience with these issues, recognized a need for additional transportation funding and an opportunity to raise additional funds without having to raise taxes, with the added benefit of deterring unsafe driving.

    I respect the leadership Mr. Albo has shown in getting results for our region.

  8. Riley, Not O'Reilly

    One problem with your theory, Anon. If unsafe driving is deterred by these fines, then there won’t be much in the way of transportation funding from these fines. This funding source relies upon reckless drivers continuing to drive recklessly.

  9. rittinger

    Exactly. As I have said repeatedly, the only group getting any increased income from this idiotic law is Dave Albo. And I salute Dave Albo (or one of his employees) for coming here in the person of Anonymous and offering a trite and meaningless apologia for a sleazy trial lawyer using his political office to pump cash into his own pocket.

    If the Republican Party is going to make a comeback in NoVa, it has to offer something different that a Dem-light agenda. Passing legislation for the sole benefit of trial lawyers is a page right out of the Dem playbook and a recipe for disaster.

  10. eagleray1

    If Dave Albo is a results-oriented statesman he would have found a way to get money from out-of-staters also. Raise more funds for transportation – great idea! Raise additional funds without raising taxes – great idea! Only imposing these fees on VA drivers – bad idea! A results-oriented person would have found a way to get funds from everyone – such as raising traffic violation fines so everyone is affected. How is he making the roads safer by only imposing these fees on VA drivers – hello? Like VA drivers are the only ones who speed on I-95, run stop signs, don’t properly use their turn signals??

  11. Anke Cheney

    Well anonymous, if any part of the purpose here is to create an “opportunity to raise additional funds without having to raise taxes, with the added benefit of deterring unsafe driving,” then why does this ONLY apply to Virginia drivers? I see at least as many unsafe drivers on the road with out of state tags in Northern Virginia as there are drivers with VA tags on their vehicles. Also, they are calling this an “unsafe driver TAX,” so don’t kid yourself…they’re actually trying to justify it as an additional tax rather than a fine. So much for tax pledges.

  12. same anonymous

    Thanks for assuming I could work for Mr. Albo, though I do not have that priviledge. I am just an interested observer. I think this issue is getting a lot more attention than it warrants. If you’re outraged about the fines, drive safely so you don’t have to pay them. No, it’s not a significant source of funding, but we’ve all seen how simple it is to raise the revenue necessary for real improvement. As to whether it will deter unsafe driving or actually raise money through the fines – who cares which ones bears out? Aren’t they both laudable goals?

  13. Anke Cheney

    You an “out of state” driver, perhaps?

    This has nothing to do with promoting safe driving anonymous, otherwise it would apply to all equally. It also has nothing to do with “fines,” or they would also be applying it equally and the courts have some say in its application. It has everything to do with being a hidden tax to protect the “no tax” pledgers…and the self-interest of a politician who is generating additional income for himself. That’s a no-brainer.

  14. Larry

    Ever try to do the speed limit on the beltway? You’d have to do it in the slow lane to the right and then risk all the speeders rocketing in from the ramps.

  15. same anonymous

    I’m a native [Northern] Virginian, born and bred. Maybe that’s why I see this as nothing more than an honest attempt at raising some funds for our transportation needs. I’m desperate enough for any additional revenue that I suppose I don’t care whether it’s generated by a tax or a fine or illegal investments. Yes, I’m a RINO!

  16. Riley, Not O'Reilly

    I think that people do recognize that there is a need for additional spending on transportation projects in Northern Virginia. I also think that people realize that there needs to be a stable, dedicated funding source for those projects. I’d say that the problem people have with this particular source of funds is that no one knows how much it will generate, people question whether the “deterrent” effect of these high fines will negate it as a source of revenue, and most of all, they see an “equal protection” problem with this as it only applies to in-state drivers.

  17. nick

    Really the truckers are the ones who need this penalty. Most of them are from…out of state. Albo is a criminal, he should be behind bars.

  18. eagleray1

    Same Anonymous – I am a native Virginian and was raised all my life in NoVA. I don’t have any problem with our state trying to raise funds for transportation needs – but it should be equally shared. As a native I would think that you would be frustrated with the amount of drivers who live in VA and have out-of-state license plates (especially those from MD and DC). Get something straight they are not paying that much money toward transportation needs, yet they also drive VA roads. This is a case of “equal distribution” of responsibility for new roads and safer driving.

  19. goldhorder

    wow…the voice of the new conservatism. Faith in government to impose thousands of dollars in fines. Say…going 60 in a 55…missed that 45 sign…ohhh to bad. Miss that turn signal or your turn signal goes out (That would be a failure to signal) ohhh to bad. Obstructed view? I don’t even know what that is. Let alone the fact that most tickets are given during low traffic times. It would be best to give them during high traffic volume times (because this is when speeders are most dangerous)…but that becomes very risky for police officers. Most police officer who are struck by motorists happen this way. It is much safer to wait off the side of the road during low traffic times at the 45 drop down point…and get your suckers that way.

  20. goldhorder

    What the hell…conservatives used to have a sense of fair play. Guided by the bible. What is this nonsense? We don’t want to pay for our road upkeep…so I”ll figure out a way to pawn it off on somebody else? Speeders sounds good because they are on the roads when they commit a misdemeanor? I a Speeder is driving recklessly and putting people lives at risk…they deserve a stiff fine and a court date…in these cases a large fine is in order…and fitting to the crime. The punishment should fit the crime. It is not supposed to be an eye, an arm, a toe, and half an ear…for an eye. You are looking for a way to decrease your tax burden by placing the costs on someone else. That is immoral in my opinion. The government should not benefit from crime. Allowing the government to benefit from crime encourages government to find more crime. Simple economics. I’ve always thought all government expenses should be paid from voted on taxes. Property, income, or sales. That way everybody knows how much money is coming in year in and year out and the government is on a set budget. If they need more the people have to pay for it. Allowing the government this kind of power just encourages exploitation. Peolpe shouldn’t be forced to pay fines. They should do some sort of community service if they break the law. Like cleaning up the roadside. If they cause damage to private property the court should assign restitution to the property holder. That would be a fair system. Instead our government prospers by handing out as many fines as possible. I don’t agree with the system. To me it is just stealing. Getting other people to pay your taxes through fines is just stealing also. I guess Franklin was correct…”Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch”

  21. Albo the Great

    Real nice move how this only applies to VA residents. So now the non-residents driving 80 mph on I-95 will be practically running over us law abiding VA residents. Wow, I feel so much safer. Thanks Mr. Albo! Way to think through all of the scenarios!

  22. Sal C.

    One of the points being made by people for this Bill is that they are “tired of habitual traffic violators who don’t obey signs and speeds” and that these new fines will deter them from breaking the law.
    In some states we have capitol punishment but that doesn’t seem to stop people from killing each other.

    This law was intended to put more money in Dave Albo’s pocket, plain and simple.

  23. Anonymous

    one of the dumbest ideas ever put forth, would expect it out of a democrat but out of a so called republican? Just remember mr. Albo election day is coming. Trial lawyers should be banned from holding any elected office. If anyone doubts how dumb this idea is wait till your heading up 95 at the Legal limit and the out of state trucks and cars are speeding up to your bumper and cutting you off in a rage because you cant drive with the flow of traffic. Also look at the list of fines how come it costs less to operate a motorcycle without a license than a car? or did I read it wrong? seriously look through the list of fines…I have no problem for the fines associated with operating vehicles without a valid drivers license as long as they are uniform, but the outrageous speeding fines applied only to virginians is simply wrong.

  24. gee whip

    What’s less safe, a dozen cars going 65-75 mph or 3 cars going 50, 3 going 60, 3 going 70 and 3 going 80?

    If the foolish notion that “speed kills” was absolutely factual, every driver in the last Indianapolis 500 would be on the other side of the grass right now. Are people really that out of touch with physical reality that they buy into the marketing spin of revenue-hungry politicians?

  25. gee whip

    Let’s restrict the left lane to out of state drivers only. It’s the only “safe” option.

    Question for all the traffic regulators in the silver & blue cars: Did you imagine your primary job description would be “armed tax collector” when you applied for that career to “protect and serve’? Wouldn’t it make your job easier if you weren’t so much the nemesis of the citizenry and more its champion? Oh well, just like the rest of us, you work for Dave Albo, et al.

    Sic Semper Tyrannis, anyone?

  26. recall_dave_albo

    This bill should be dumped. Dave Albo should be recalled like Gray Davis in CA.

  27. kevin joyce

    “…the very Democrat habit of using state largesse to fatten his wallet.” You gotta be kidding me- surely you have heard of Abrahmoff and K street?

  28. ROBERTA

    I DO NOT FEEL THIS LAW SHOULD HAVE EVEN BEEN PASSED.THIS IS OUTRAGES FOR ALL OF US VIRGINIANS.THIS IS JUST ANOTHER WAY TO GET MOMRE MONEY OUT OF US.THIS BILL NEED TO BE DUMPED RIGHT AWAY.IF THE GOVERNMENT WOULD STOP SPENDING SO MUCH THEN WE WOULD NOT HAVE TO MAKE IT UP.IT WAS BAD ENOUGH THAT A DOG LAW WAS PASSED CAUSING ALOT OF HONEST PEOPLE TO GET MISDEMEANORS ON THEIR RECORD CAUSE A DOG WILL NOT STAY PUT ON THE PROPERTY.THIS TOO WAS A OUTRAGES LAW.

  29. ROBERTA

    I DO NOT FEEL THIS LAW SHOULD HAVE EVEN BEEN PASSED.THIS IS OUTRAGES FOR ALL OF US VIRGINIANS.THIS IS JUST ANOTHER WAY TO GET MORE MONEY OUT OF US.THIS BILL NEED TO BE DUMPED RIGHT AWAY.IF THE GOVERNMENT WOULD STOP SPENDING SO MUCH THEN WE WOULD NOT HAVE TO MAKE IT UP.IT WAS BAD ENOUGH THAT A DOG LAW WAS PASSED CAUSING ALOT OF HONEST PEOPLE TO GET MISDEMEANORS ON THEIR RECORD CAUSE A DOG WILL NOT STAY PUT ON THE PROPERTY.THIS TOO WAS A OUTRAGES LAW.

  30. FOREST

    SHE SAID IT ALL.I DO NOT FEEL THIS LAW SHOULD HAVE EVEN BEEN PASSED.THIS IS OUTRAGES FOR ALL OF US VIRGINIANS.THIS IS JUST ANOTHER WAY TO GET MORE MONEY OUT OF US.THIS BILL NEED TO BE DUMPED RIGHT AWAY.IF THE GOVERNMENT WOULD STOP SPENDING SO MUCH THEN WE WOULD NOT HAVE TO MAKE IT UP.IT WAS BAD ENOUGH THAT A DOG LAW WAS PASSED CAUSING ALOT OF HONEST PEOPLE TO GET MISDEMEANORS ON THEIR RECORD CAUSE A DOG WILL NOT STAY PUT ON THE PROPERTY.THIS TOO WAS A OUTRAGES LAW.

  31. PATTI

    I DO NOT FEEL THIS LAW SHOULD HAVE EVEN BEEN PASSED.THIS IS OUTRAGES FOR ALL OF US VIRGINIANS.THIS IS JUST ANOTHER WAY TO GET MORE MONEY OUT OF US.THIS BILL NEED TO BE DUMPED RIGHT AWAY.IF THE GOVERNMENT WOULD STOP SPENDING SO MUCH THEN WE WOULD NOT HAVE TO MAKE IT UP.IT WAS BAD ENOUGH THAT A DOG LAW WAS PASSED CAUSING ALOT OF HONEST PEOPLE TO GET MISDEMEANORS ON THEIR RECORD CAUSE A DOG WILL NOT STAY PUT ON THE PROPERTY.THIS TOO WAS A OUTRAGES LAW.AND IT NEEDS TO BE DUMPED AS WELL AS THIS CRAZY LAW ABOUT SPEEDERS FEES…

  32. KRISTY

    THIS CRAZY LAW NEEDS TO BE DUMBED AS WELL AS THE DOG LAWS…I CAN SEE A LAW IF A DOG HURTS SOMEONE BUT IF THEY DO NOT THEN I CAN NOT SEE IT……..THESE LAWS THAT GET MADE AND PASSED SOME OF THEM ARE JUST OUTRAGES ………..DUMP THIS SPEEDER FEE….

  33. SARAH

    WE IN VIRGINIA IS GETTING A RAW DEAL THE NEW LAWS NEED TO BE CHANGED.THESE ARE OUTRAGES.

  34. Riley, Not O'Reilly

    Okay, we get it. Now stop impersonating different people who all apparently have the same IP address and penchant for misspelling the same words. If you have something to say, say it once and do it well.

  35. sherry

    We the citizens of Virginia demand that a special session be called as soon as possible and every single one of these Civil Remedial Fees be repealed completely and immediately.
    We will not wait until January 2008 regular session for politicians to pretend to correct this egregious law that they have tried to foist upon the citizens of Virginia, by only ‘modifying’ a few of the fees.
    We want all of the fees completely repealed, and repealed NOW.
    Please sign the petition on Ipetitions.com by searching VAtraffic or use this link:
    http://www.Ipetitions.com/petition/VAtrafficfees/
    and SPREAD THE WORD.
    We will be sending this petition to Governor Kaine and the entire Assembly in Richmond. Contact info on the Ipetition site for each Senator and Delegate.
    Please contact your ‘elected’ representatives personally and let them know how you feel about these fees.
    These fees could easily bankrupt many of the working class families that are the foundation of Virginia.
    They will place undue financial burdens on all levels of Virginia citizens from students to senior citizens.

  36. rx7matt

    I’ll drive my car as fast as I want. I’m a very safe driver. The laws in va are rediculous. I use 264 everyday to work and I drive at 85 mph and cars still pass me. What I’m trying to say is dave albo needs to go away. The new speeding laws in va are plain stupid. Just another reason to add to my list on why I would NEVER EVER Fight for this country. Yes I’m a young person and a lot of young ppl agree with me on this matter EX. Why would I want to fight for a country that wants to fine me 2500 for failure to use my blinker causing me to not be able to pay rent leading to being homeless living on the street because the government wants over a grand to pay for a failure to use blinker ticket well I’m jus gonna sit back enjoy life and laugh at how stupid this country is and if u have a problem with my opinion buy me a plane ticket and I’d be more than happy to leave…. land of the free???? Hahahha this place is a joke

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