Municipal Surcharge Bureau and the Driver Responsibility Program in Texas

by admin on June 3, 2011

in Tyler Businesses

Ever hear of MSB “A Private Corporation?” Well neither had I, until walking to my mail box this morning. MSB stands for Municipal Surcharge Bureau. MSB is basically a group of outsourced bureaucrats working as collection agents for the Department of Public Safety, and the State of Texas. As best as I can determine, they are currently responsible for the collection of ticket surcharges on infractions such as, driving with an expired license or without a license, driving without insurance, or driving under the influence (DUI). One to three of these infractions entitle the state charge the “Offender” with a surcharge every three years. And by the way, this “Private Corporation” has aspirations far beyond its current collections role. Their website claims the following as their vision: “[To Become the] Receivables Management Solutions for Every Government in: every city, every county, every state.” Reading about these cats makes me reflect on Douglas Adams description of the Vogons in his classic work “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy!” “Vogons are described as mindlessly bureaucratic, aggressive, having as much sex appeal as a road accident… They are one of the most unpleasant races in the galaxy – not actually evil, but bad-tempered, bureaucratic, officious and callous.” I trust my reader perceives my hostility at this point.

As you may have guessed I recentlyreceived a ticket for driving on an expired license. I wrote about my experience in an article for this site several months ago. First off, I was charged more by the city than I was led to believe I would be by the officer who gave me the ticket. Ok fine I’ll just pay the ticket and be done with it. When I had paid up all my charges, and gotten everything current, I was enormously relieved. One less thing to worry about right? Wrong! A walk to my mail box today dispelled my happy delusion. Turns out, now that I had paid the city, the state wants its kick- back. At first I wasn’t even sure it wasn’t a scam. Well it is a scam but… Upon talking to others who had already encountered this organization, I heard stories of people being fined without their knowledge, ever growing penalties as a result of inadequate notification, and even warrants issued for the arrest of citizens who believed they had paid their tickets!

The Driver Responsibility Program, (sounds nice huh), was put into law in 2003. But the whole “Surcharge” nonsense is just another shameless project to squeeze more revenue out of the citizenry! And what’s worse the rules are so unclear, as to make it a sliding scale. No one really understands the fees, so who can tell if they’re being over charged? So what do we do? I don’t know. I guess we can start by calling our congressman, and trying to make the issue visible enough to find someone willing to vote for repeal. The hard thing is to find a politician willing to divest his office of funds, especially if he or she can collect them in the name of “Driver Responsibility.” I guess for now, I’m out another one hundred four dollars. Enjoy it DPS, but you’d better use it to put gas in an officer’s car or something. God knows that’s where it was going before I sent it to you!

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Jack February 4, 2012 at 11:43 am

Yes, I agree with you 100 percent. This is a double jeperdeperly law force upon us by the folks we elected to look after our welfare. I have been writing the Governor (Perry) and my congressmen. Someone from Perry's office called and told me how wonderful the bill was and Perry was a big supporter. Rick Hardcastle has just wrote a letter and he claims it has helped the state with the extra money and the medical community has emphasized that the extra monies has helped the trama centers.

He also states that GENERALLY a driver must receive several violations in a three year period before being assessed a surcharge. Is this really true? What does GENERALLY really mean? He also states that the State has not seen musc of that revenue because many drives do not know about or cannot afford to pay. Wonder how much that MSB company charges the state. Does the MSB review a person driving record to see if thay had had less than a certain number of violations within last three years before sending out a charge? Probably not if thats the first ticket you have received.



Angel Victory June 29, 2012 at 1:16 pm

This is f$&*ing bull$%*t. I have had my license suspended for refusing to be scapegoat for government funding. Now they have taken away from me my basic need to drive. The need to drive to work and make money, to drive to the store and buy groceries, to drive to the doctors office, etc. This is not something to be taken lightly.

These surcharges are ridiculously overpriced for the average struggling college student, so two MONTHS ago i applied for the indigency program. I recently received a letter letting me know i have to submit my recent bank statements, after i have already sent them copies of my W-2's and my last 12 paystubs. These people are f$#@ing serious about climbing into my as%$^le and pulling out every last cent they can.

And of course Mr. Perry is going to argue that this 'law' is making it possible to raise money for roads, highways, schools etc. But isn't this why we pay TAXES already!? Isn't this why money is taken out of our paychecks and tax is added to about every monetary transaction we can think of?! Why should this money come out of our pockets? Tell me are we truly such deviant offenders as to deserve to have our licenses suspended or forced to give our already taxed money back to the government?


JIm July 19, 2012 at 12:13 am

So you get in trouble. Nobody means to. But it happens. You hire and pay a lawyer, and you go to court (sometimes numerous times), and you lose time at work (and sometimes your job), and you pay the fines, and you take courses, and you take classes, and your license is suspended, and they make life a living nightmare during this process. Well, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You have paid everyone! You have jumped through hoops. Your suspension time is over!!! YEAH! uh-oh… now they want more… huh? what? YEP! Double jeapordy…. and it is legal? And it could mean permanent revoaction. A crime on society is all I can call it. Lawyers are afraid of it. They know it is not legal… but their name is at stake. Well, which ever way this goes… I'm the HELL outta Texas as soon as its over.


JIm July 19, 2012 at 12:23 am

Texas is a great state. They have done a few minor things wrong, but mostly great things right. THIS IS THEIR BIGGEST FLAW. If you are thinking of moving here… know driving is an inherent cost. I have had ZERO violations in 12 years… and now I have to pay over
$1000 each year and hope I get no more tickets. What a scam. The worst part is that the people who can't or won't pay still drive and can't get insurance…. so when they hit you… and they will. You better have uninsured motorist.


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