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Friday, September 1, 2006

Smokey Briggs

Sage Views

By Smokey Briggs

A new vehicle registration
sticker - Oh Goody!

Do you ever run across something that really ticks you off?

I did the other day. It showed up in my mailbox in the form of a request for free advertising from my good friend, the State of Texas.

This little gem of a “press release” was titled “TxDOT Introduces New Registration Sticker.”

Ooolala. I was all goosepimply when I read the headline.

Honestly, I had to read the thing twice, because I did not at first believe that the ever-so-efficient bureaucrats in Austin were spending tax dollars to send press releases out announcing that my stupid license plate/sticker would look different this year.

But, that was exactly the case.

The press release led off with this snappy line: “Thanks to customer comments and suggestions, the Texas Department of Transportation is introducing a new windshield registration sticker expected to be distributed statewide by early 2007.”


First, I am not a customer, Ms. Schmoozypants. I would be a customer if I had a choice, which I do not. The money the state extorts from me each year to operate a motor vehicle I already paid for is just that - extortion. You might as well put a gun to my head.

So, do not insult us mere citizens by calling us “customers” when we are nothing more than victims of armed robbery.

Being called “customer” does not make the theft any less painful.

The second line was thus: “We are very excited about the new design,” said Rebecca Davio, director of Vehicle Titles and Registration Division. “We listened to our customers, used their ideas, and believe we have a sticker Texans will be proud to display.”

Well, actually, Ms. Davio, I think you are a bald-faced liar.

I do not think you listened to any of your customer/victims. If you had, we would not be paying through the nose for the right to operate a piece of machinery we supposedly own.

The only sticker I would be proud to display is one that said, “Free, because the State of Texas does not put a gun to its citizens’ heads and extort money from them so that they can drive to work.”

Mine does not say that - I checked.

“Texans told us they wanted a sticker with a clean, uncluttered design that was easy to apply, and that is what we have developed, said Mike Behrens, TxDOT’s executive director.

Good grief, how many bureaucratic nincompoops are in on this deal?

And, no you did not listen to any Texans. Maybe you talked with some Yankees who have overstayed their green card. If you had listened to a Texan he or she would have told you that no sticker at all would have suited your design criteria quite well - what could be more clean, uncluttered or easy to apply than NO sticker. Of course, it is hard to extort money from folks when they do not have to put their Taxes-paid-in-full-again-this-year sticker on their car.

Then Ms. Schmoozypants the press release author writes: “Vehicle registration also gives people using the road system peace of mind. The sticker allows us to provide extra security for each and every registered vehicle owner in Texas.”

Now, just how does this vehicular tax stamp do that? Nobody bothers to explain that little gem of wisdom. I guess us morons who pay taxes are not supposed to question the proclamations from Austin on High.

Then there is this comforting quote: “The new design will make it easier for law enforcement officers to immediately identify whether the sticker is valid or in compliance,” said Commander Jesse Flores of the Motor Vehicle Theft Division for the Texas Department of Public Safety. “That’s good for Texans because it provides added protection against theft and fraud.”

Oh barf. No, it doesn’t. What it does is make it easier for the tax patrol to write you a ticket and collect some extra revenue for the bureaucrats in Austin to spend on something stupid.

What would be good for Texans is a sticker that made it impossible to tell if you had paid your taxes - and hence we could keep the money out of the wasteful hands of Austin and in the local economy where it might do a bit of good.

The only money being protected here from theft and fraud is the money in your pocket the government does not want you to “steal” by keeping it in your pocket.

“…many state residents found the current Texas flag sticker a little overwhelming. They also told us the sticker’s flag colors appeared faded and looked unattractive on their vehicles,” Davio said.

My dear Ms. Davio, again, I find your research hard to believe.

First, did you really waste the money you extorted from me with the threat of force to poll people about the aesthetic properties of a tax stamp? Please tell me you did not.

Second, if you did, did the respondents who obviously have nothing to do really say they were overwhelmed? Why do I doubt this?

I can just hear the conversation - “Well, I don’t mind paying $70 for the privilege of driving my car, but golly gee, that sticker is just overwhelming.”

The only thing overwhelming about the sticker is the price tag - and the concept of having to pay a tax every year to exercise such a basic right as the use of transportation that has been bought and paid for.

Now, that is overwhelming.

That, and the fact that the bureaucratic kooks in Austin actually pay somebody to write this drivel, and pay somebody else to mail it to every media outlet in Texas.

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