Baton Rouge seizes tax refunds to pay outstanding tickets
Baton Rouge City Court is seizing state tax refunds from people who owe on the city's estimated 102,000 outstanding tickets.
Last year, the city cleared over $225,000 worth of unpaid tickets owed to the City of Baton Rouge.
"It's been very successful," Clerk of Court Lon Norris said.
The program started five years ago. It has been so positive, court leaders are even exploring other options to clear the backlog of tickets owed.
"We hope in the near future to start seizing federal tax refunds," Norris said. "It requires more paperwork, but we're considering proceeding in that fashion due to the success of the state tax refund."
Each week until April 15, City Court will receive a check from people who have completed their taxes. Once an outstanding ticket is paid off, the remaining balance from the tax refund will go back to the taxpayer.
Sara Grafton recently found out her tax refund was seized by the city.
"I don't think it's right for them to take our tax money and pay off our tickets," Grafton said.
Grafton had outstanding moving violations that dated back nearly 10 years.
Grafton said, "I think it hurts people more than it helps them because you may need that money."