This past summer, I wrote an article on the municipal surcharge bureau (MSB). (My perceptive readers and grammar hawks, will notice I didn’t capitalize the name. Immature I realize, but I’m desperate for a way to lash out at these people).The MSB is essentially a collections agency for the State of Texas, and the Department of Public Safety, in the vaunted tradition of the biblical Roman tax collectors and the sheriff of Nottingham. I’ve already recounted the tale of my registration infraction and how I was required to pay penalties, both to the City of Tyler and to the State Capital in Austin. Largely out of spite I decided to make my one hundred four dollar payment to MSB in installments… I mean if I’m going to be ripped off, why not make it as inconvenient as possible for the thief, right?
Well as it turned out, recent financial challenges made it necessary for me to request an extension in order to avoid a suspension of my license. Upon making the request I was condescendingly lectured to by the vogon on the other end of the line, that the extension was only being granted as a courtesy, and the next payment would have to be on time. “That’s ok,” I replied; “this is my last payment.” “Well, actually,” it replied hesitantly, “you’ll be required to make another payment of one hundred dollars next year… uh… a… and the following year” the unisex voice stammered, clearly nervous about breaking the news. I hit the ceiling. “Are you kidding me?!” I yelled. “I’m afraid not,” it squeaked. “According to the driver responsibility act of two thousand whatever…” and it proceeded to quote me chapter and verse of some recent legal code, no one but an expert in legal blather could possibly understand.
I’m becoming more and more aware of how buried we are becoming in stupid red tape which serves only to complicate our lives and separate us from our money, in exchange for absolutely nothing! And unfortunately, no one can seem to stop it because its government that’s doing it! If only we could manage to elect representatives willing to divest the government of at least a portion of other people’s money. Until then, maybe we should all start to pay these fines in pennies! The bean counters may actually enjoy counting them.
To read my original article on the municipal surcharge bureau, click on the following link Municipal Surcharge Bureau and the Driver Responsibility Program in Texas