Tag Archives: Drivers

Cuomo: Licenses of nearly 9,000 tax evaders suspended


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Thousands of New York tax delinquents have lost their driving privileges.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that 8,900 drivers had their licenses suspended for failing to pay taxes they owe to the state.

The crackdown is a result of legislation signed into law last year that encourages people who owe more than $10,000 in back taxes to settle up with the state tax department or face consequences.

“For many, this message is getting through and as a result thousands of people have come forward to do the right thing and find a way to pay their taxes. Those who haven’t are losing their drivers licenses,” Cuomo said.

Drivers have 60 days to arrange payment after the tax department mails them a suspension notice. If they fail to do so, the department sends a second letter, and drivers have 15 more days to respond before they face losing their license until the debt is paid or a payment plan is arranged.

More than 17,700 drivers were contacted starting in August 2013. In addition to the nearly 9,000 suspensions, 6,500 tax evaders have either paid in full or are marking payments toward their debt and 2,300 were determined ineligible for the suspension.

It also resulted in a nearly $56.4 million increase of state and local tax collections.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Snow this morning will mix with and change to rain this afternoon. High 36. Winds NE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation 90%. Snowfall around one inch.Tuesday night: Light snow this evening will give way to some clearing late. Low 26F. Winds NNW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of snow 50%.

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Flushing widow pushes for hit-and-run bill


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

The widow of a Flushing man killed last year in a tragic hit-and-run held back tears while she pushed for a bill to protect pedestrians.

“I’m very heartbroken, very angry,” said Taysha Dominguez. “There are no words to describe the pain and the suffering that my family is currently going through at this moment.”

Her husband, Dante Dominguez, was struck by a car while crossing 41st Avenue and Union Street on foot in Flushing last November. The driver, who is still unknown, fled and left the father of three to die, officials said. He was 45.

“Even when I step on someone’s foot, I hold accountability. I say that I’m sorry to that person,” said the widow, 30. “This person continued driving, didn’t have the heart to help save that victim. To leave the scene — that’s heartless. That is what has torn me apart.”

Lawmakers and Dante’s family returned to the scene of the crime last week to urge the City Council to pass a bill which would require more police action and the installation of nearly 200 red light cameras.

“We don’t want her husband to have died in vain,” said Councilmember Peter Koo.

The legislation would require the NYPD to make annual reports to the City Council on hit-and-runs that result in death or severe injury, detailing all actions taken to determine culprits. The city’s police department would also have to collect video surveillance from cameras near the crime scene.

The bill also calls for the city to install red light cameras in more than 150 intersections and create a tax credit for property owners who install their own devices.

Sources said the bill will soon be introduced in the City Council.

“Hit-and-runs are too frequent in Queens, and we need to do everything we can to make sure the police have the resources they need to find the drivers responsible for them,” said Councilmember Leroy Comrie.

Inspector Brian Maguire of the 109th Precinct urged anyone with information on Dante’s death to anonymously help by calling 1-800-577-TIPS.

“Getting into an accident is not a crime,” the precinct’s commanding officer said. “It’s only a crime when you flee the scene.”

Dominguez said her husband was a hardworking artist who toiled through long shifts to make ends meet. She added that their family is still reeling from the loss.

“I can’t say we’re okay when we’re really not,” said Dominguez. “We have no sense of closure. We’re hurt and we’re torn. There is not enough justice being done to find out who did this.”

 

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City scofflaws to face the boot


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

DSC_1480w

Motorists with multiple parking tickets might soon find a pesky boot anchored to their car wheel as the city revs up to roll out its wheel lock program.

The initiative, set to begin in north Brooklyn on Monday, June 25 and spread to the outer boroughs over the summer, targets scofflaw vehicles – those with an exorbitant amount of unpaid fines against them. City marshals, currently responsible for towing cars with outstanding tickets totaling over $350 will continue to operate separately from Paylock, the new-program proliferators.

Paylock was selected by the Bloomberg administration for the no-bid pilot program, expected to rake in $70 million for the city. Employees from the New Jersey based business can scan for cars with unpaid fines using automated license-plate-reading software, sweeping blocks in seconds. Once they get a hit, workers strap a lock to the whip’s wheel. Motorists must call the company and fork over their fines via credit card. Paylock then gives the driver a pin number to be entered into the boot’s keypad, releasing the contraption.

The motorist is responsible for paying a $180 boot fee, $70 to the city and a five percent surcharge, as well as all acquired ticket fines. Along with the Paylock-administered fees, the driver must return the boot within 24 hours or otherwise face additional charges of $25 every day until it is brought back to a designated location.

A spokesperson from the Department of Finances (DOF) called the program “a more efficient, more customer friendly method of collecting outstanding parking fines,” mainly because it erases the confusion and worry incited upon discovering your car has been towed.

The spokesperson claimed that a motorist whose car has been towed pays an average of $306 to reclaim their vehicle, not including parking fines incurred prior to towing. With a booting program, the spokesperson alleged, drivers will owe about seven percent less on average in fees to have the boot removed.

As the city gears up to reboot the plan, tow truck companies and their contractors fear they may be flattened by the monopoly of the program’s city-picked proprietor.

John Hughes, an Astoria resident who works for a city Marshall Program, fears the new initiative will leave contractors like him out of a job, estimating that around 200 people will be forced out of work.

“They’ll do business exclusively with one tow-truck company,” said Hughes. “You’ll pay $600 to $1000 more for something that costs nothing except for your tickets.”

Hughes fears the program could cause public safety issues, arguing when more than one car on a street is booted, it could prohibit a fire truck or ambulance from accessing a place or person in need.

He added that western Queens will struggle the most with this, predominantly due to previously present parking problems.

- Additional reporting by Phil Hertling

 

Incensed by parking meter increase


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Queens drivers are reaching deeper into their pockets — more often — to park around the borough

“I have to constantly feed the meter, when I can barely feed myself in this economy,” said Theresa Bulgosi as she shopped along Vernon Boulevard.

City motorists now get only 15 minutes for a quarter — $1 for an hour. The rates were raised as part of the city’s budget plan. The timing adjustments began in Queens this summer as new muni-meters were installed.

“The city increased the prices and lowered the time. I think that’s an outrage. I know they’re desperate for money but just cut off the welfare. A quarter was for 20 minutes, now it’s for 15 minutes. It makes a difference when you’re constantly parking,” said Grace Lorini, in front of Banana Republic on Austin Street in Forest Hills.

Many areas of Queens were already outfitted with muni-meters, but the city plans to replace all single space meters with muni-meters throughout the borough by June of next year.

The installation of muni-meters began in Forest Hills — parts of 71st Drive, 73rd Place, 80th and Selfridge Streets — and Middle Village — on Metropolitan Avenue from 69th Street to 74th Avenue – on Saturday, October 1.

Store owner Judy Zhu from Valuclean Cleaners on Bell Boulevard pays about four dollars a day in the muni-meters, which only lasts four hours, but that doesn’t stop her from getting tickets.

“In the past two weeks, I got three tickets. I went inside the cleaners to get change for the car and when I returned I already got a ticket for $35,” said Zhu.

Janet Akilov agreed and said, “It’s too expensive now and it makes me rush while shopping or eating,” while waiting for her muni-meter receipt to print in front of Kabul Kabob Restaurant on Main Street, Flushing.

Though drivers are incensed by increased rates, some see the advantages muni-meters provide – such as providing more parking spaces and accepting credit/debit cards.

“It’s nice not to have to carry around a pocketful of quarters around anymore just for meters,” said Thom Lee, a LaGuardia Community College student.

For those still partial to the single space meters, a request for proposal was issued for a vendor to sell the meters as memorabilia.