HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) – As Pennsylvania state lawmakers debate how to balance the state budget and fill a $4-billion hole, two members of the legislature from Northeast Philadelphia have come up with proposed legislation that would help chip away at the state deficit.

State senator Mike Stack wants to put the brakes on a car registration renewal until the owner has paid all outstanding liabilities arising out of certain court proceedings.

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“It’s an incentive to pay these outstanding  fees,” says Stack (center of photo, in blue necktie), who notes that there are about $1.6 billion in unpaid fines, fees, and penalties owed to courts across the Commonwealth.  Philadelphia Municipal Court and Philadelphia Common Pleas courts alone are owed more than $376 million, he said.

State Rep. John Sabatina (right) says considering the state deficit, the Commonwealth really could use the money it would collect.

“This is not a tax.  It’s fines and fees already ordered by a judge that just need to be collected,” he says.

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Stack says that even if they collected half of what’s owed, that’s $800,000 that could be used to cut the deficit without raising taxes.

Pennsylvania state Supreme Court justice Seamus McCaffery (at left in photo) says that even if they only get 20 percent of the outstanding court fees, it’s a step in the right direction.

Reported by Steve Tawa, KYW Newsradio 1060

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