Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi is offering temporary amnesty for individuals who owe back child support. It’s something I’ve seen done in other jurisdictions. The government gives people an opportunity to get caught up on back payments by a certain date and in exchange there’s no additional penalty lobbied against them.
If I were a local government official who was strapped for cash, and who isn’t these days, I would think that amnesty might be a nice short-term answer to my problems. If you think about what’s owed to local governments in terms of traffic tickets, code violations, licensing fees, sales income and property taxes there are potentially millions of dollars out there that can shore up city and county coffers. Remember when the State of Indiana offered up amnesty and took in more than $240 million?
Once the amnesty period expires the locals and can begin a more aggressive crackdown on lawbreakers. And for those of you who think offering amnesty is a way to reward bad behavior, you are failing to see the forest for the trees. It’s cheaper to give people a chance to get right than expending the time and resources trying to chase after everyone who owes you money.
So if you’re a local government official looking for a way to make up for a budget shortfall, might I suggest a little amnesty can go a long way.