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Cash-Strapped New York City To Eliminate Plea Bargaining Parking Tickets

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A cherished parking ticket perk is about to bite the dust -- the victim of hard times right here in New York City.

Gotham is putting the brakes on a program that gives parking scofflaws a break.

"We're facing a $4.5 billion budget deficit next year," Finance Commissioner David Frankel said.

And so hard times here [in] the city means illegal parkers will have to pay full freight. Gone is the automatic discount for agreeing not to fight a summons in court. The program was instituted to reduce a big backlog of ticket appeals. It's now gone.

Under the program, Manhattan violators could automatically get a $65 ticket reduced to $43 and outer borough residents got their $45 ticket reduced to $32.

"If the choice is between potentially firing cops or firefighters or eliminating other vital services as opposed to eliminating a program that benefits people who park illegally it's a pretty simple choice," Frankel said.

The move will mean an additional $50 million a year in ticket revenue to the city, but Council Transportation Chairman James Vacca said it's not fair to eliminate the program.

"They're telling people who get a ticket you will no longer be allowed to plea bargain your ticket. People who commit violent crimes in this city plea bargain the violent crime," Vacca said.

"Yet people who pay a ticket are being told you're guilty or you're innocent and you must pay the full fine."

Driver reaction is mixed.

"It's not fair to us," one person said.

"Everybody works so hard for the money, especially [when] the economy's bad like this. They should do that they should leave it as is," added Mohammed Khalil of Yonkers.

"If you're wrong and you did something wrong and the penalty for doing that thing wrong is 'X' amount of dollars shouldn't you pay 'X' amount of dollars," added Zane Mark of Ditmas Park.

The so-called "park and slide" program expires on Jan. 30.

Now drivers have the option of appealing by mail, online or in person, which could create a new backlog.

Do you agree with this move? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

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