Just Saying No

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Probably I ought not to commit this to print – much less the ‘Net. But I feel obliged.ear tag

Ok, here it is:

I haven’t renewed the cattle tags for some of my vehicles in several years now. I mean “renewing” the annual registration. That is to say, I have stopped paying the annual tributum the state demands of me in order to maintain my “privilege” to operate these vehicles on the roads I have already paid for.

I figure once is enough.

Especially since it’s many times more than once.

Each time I buy gas, I – like you – pay taxes, highly regressive (50 something cents in taxes on a gallon of fuel that costs $2 or so – tax inclusive – amounts to loan sharkery) which is my weekly contribution toward the costs of building/maintaining the roads.

I’ve also – like most of you –  paid the state title and sales taxes as well as personal property taxes in perpetuity – using whatever funds are left to me after paying federal and state income taxes. Plus the might-as-well-be-taxes (because mandatory and enforced at gunpoint, like taxes) extortion payments I have to make to the insurance mafia. Notwithstanding I’ve never filed a claim in almost 30 years of driving, nor had one filed against me.

There is also the once a year “safety” inspection – $15 per and at least an hour of my time shaken down.

I figure it’s enough.vehicle sticker

Especially given the vehicles at issue are not even weekly drivers. Some sit for months before I get time to take them out. And they are all motorcycles, which impart trivial (if any) wear and tear on the roads. If I were tromping around in a Kenworth or even a 3500 dualie, I might feel some moral chagrin about dodging the annual registration fees.

But I don’t…. so I don’t.

The state has become a shake-down artiste – nothing more.

So, I decided to just … stop.

Paying, that is.

Also, wasting my time.

None of my bikes have been “safety” inspected in years. I know they are “safe.” I do not need a make-work state “safety” inspector to tell me so. Much less pay him to tell me so. I am very motivated to make sure my bikes are safe to ride. I am also motivated to avoid gratuitous wastage of my money and my time. And having some guy tell me – for a fee – that my tires are fine, brakes ok and lights all working (things I already know) strikes me as a gratuitous wastage of both.inspector

The cattle tags (registration stickers) are somewhat less gratuitous since they don’t waste my time and there is no dog-and-pony show to get them. But I tire of the transaction. Of being told I must send the state money every year, forever, to “renew” my (so to speak) ear tags, in order to be allowed to roam the feed lot.

It is offensive on a moral level. When did we (how did we) come to accept being herded like this? Literally. Note that the little stickers are color-coded and change each year. Take a drive out to the country and have a look at the Jerseys or the Gurnseys.


The four-legged cattle, at least, do not have to pay for their tags.

We – the two-legged cattle – are expected to. And it adds up.more tags

I’ve got four bikes. If I am a good milch cow, I am expected to send in about $30 for each ear tag, so $120 every year. It does not sound exorbitant until you compound it. I’ve had these bikes for 20 years. That’s $2,400 pissed down the drain, given over (under duress) for absolutely nothing of value to me – which is (my general rule) the only reason for parting with money voluntarily.

When you add to this the taxes paid with each purchase of gasoline, each purchase of parts (sales taxes), the taxes already paid for the privilege of a scrap of paper issued by the state affirming your ownership (conditional) of the bike as well as the perpetual property taxes paid each year in order to maintain the fiction of ownership… I figure I’ve more than paid my “fair share.”

So I stopped paying.Uncle shake down

It has already saved me a sum equivalent to what I spend on fuel (and fuel taxes) each year and that is a nice offset. But it is more than a purely economic calculation. I have had enough.

Perhaps you have, too.

This kind of thing is a form of passive defiance that – unlike not filing a 1040 – can be done with little in the way of big risk. The very worst that can happen to you is having a Hero (i.e., an armed government worker) notice the cattle tags are past-due and harass you for it. You may be forced to “stand and deliver” (i.e., pay the back fees) but there is no threat of seizing your assets much less dragooning you off to a cage.

And bikes have small plates – and a very small profile. It is (in my experience) very easy to go unnoticed, especially if you stay alert and notice Heroes before they notice you. When I see one, I casually – and legally – maneuver so as to not present my backside (and plate) to his view (or Automated Plate Reader). So far, this has worked well for me.

Psychologically as well as financially.

Feed ’em fish heads.

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  1. In Ontario, the costs for my 3 bikes and one car make me very inclined to do the same. I just renewed and this is what it cost – $42 per bike, $120 per car, and over $1500 in liability only insurance for all 4 of them – this for a 35+ year Class GM rider with no accident claims. Oh, and our gas costs $5 a gallon of which half is tax. Fed up is an understatement.

  2. Used to be a state cop in my neighborhood didn’t renew his travel trailer license tabs , because he only used it a couple times a year and the ticket in this state of Oregon, costs the about same as tags if he gets caught. ( this was 10 years ago, prices of tickets and tabs may have changed by now.)

    • Hi Paul,

      I stopped paying the registration on one of my bikes (insurance is up to date) because I don’t ride it that often and the risk of being caught is low. So far, I am about $300 in the plus… feed ’em fish heads!

      • I’m coming up on my third year that I haven’t paid my tag on my daily driver. Although they recently changed our license plates So eventually I’ll have to catch up. Can’t wait to find out how much that’s going to cost me.

  3. Y’know, a lot of RV owners register in a certain midwestern state for low fees & quick renewal-by-mail (or internet.)

    Your vehicle could also be registered in that state as the one you *cough* “tow” behind your RV.

    Just sayin’

    • Hi Justin,

      Among the many appalling aspects: This sort of thing creates “criminals.” What if the woman could not afford to cough up the outrageous fine? Now she is forced to choose walking – and probably, lose her job – or risk further sanctions if she risks driving. If caught, more (and larger) fines, which she can’t pay… leading to her arrest/caging… over… what?

      A got-damned cattle tag for her car.

  4. Saw this on a poster he other day in a novelty shop:


    I found myself wondering who would be the first brave soul to turn this into a bumpersticker.

  5. Hey, the People’s Republic of Minnesota represented! Appropriate since our cops are amazingly aggressive about expired tabs.

    My Tahoe is old enough that the tabs are only like $40/yr. My Spitfire has collector plates, so it’s a one-time fee and no re-ups.

    My newer cars I don’t like to think about, because it’s just too damn depressing…

  6. In WA State we used to have tags based on the value of the car, so if you had a newer car you could easily expect your yearly fee to be 3-900.00, yes, every year. Then the voters spoke and said no, we want a flat rate every year…and it passed, I believe it was 33 bucks. Here we are a few years later and there isn’t anyone paying 33 only, they’ve got you buying new plates all the time (the reflective coating wears off they say), paying all sorts of fees and the average car owner can expect to pay no less than $50. This is basically proof it’s all about the revenue because none of those fees or practices were happening back when we paid so much.

  7. I’m currently running a little experiment also. I HAVE my tag, but I have not applied it. Almost a year now. I think my last tag expired in September. My daily is a very nondescript gray Stratus, so I don’t attract any attention. And if I spot a piggy, I also try to scoot out of sight before it gets close enough to see it. I told myself if I made it a year without the new tag, I would not renew it.

    As a side note, my rear window still displays the faded 2009 “Fraternal Order of Police” sticker to remind me of my statist past. Also, I don’t have any moral qualms about putting on a nice disguise when I’m out among the sheep.

    • About 20 years ago, my car was towed from a bank parking lot the day after the tags on my license plate expired. The car was towed to a State facility at 4pm on a Friday afternoon. Of course, the payroll patriots didn’t work weekends. When I stopped by to pick up my car on Monday, I was informed that it was a municipal holiday, and that I had to come back Tuesday with over $300 cash to pay the towing charges, storage fees, and penalties.
      I happily left the state 6 months later, and never looked back.

        • Very strange here.
          People are about as intelligent/aware as Eloi….

          Cops are actually given some of the best training in the country, WRT not just fucking with people in order to fuck with them. (And then, you roll the dice, but there’ve been fewer pig issues here than anywhere else save Erie, PA, and I was only there for 6 months – no interaction.)

          I’ve been told of people almost being run over, and the cop – an eyewitness – just chewed out the driver. Not even a summons. OTOH, I’ve heard of people being shot in Boston over nothing, by police. 😛

          They’re Queer here. Not just Gay, either, but Queer as a one and a half dollar bill…

          And most don’t seem to understand what freedom is.

          • Hi Jean,


            I often feel like a minority of one for feeling (among other things) outraged by “lock down” orders. Is this a town… or a federal prison?

            Who the fuck are these buzzcut SOBs to order me off the streets? To tell me I must remain indoors?

            But most everyone else bahhhhhhhhs like the good sheep they are…

  8. California closes the “Steve Jobs Loophole”


    Except that it wasn’t a “loophole” in any way. According to the article:

    “Jobs took advantage of the loophole by driving a brand-new car for six months without getting a license plate and then turn it in for an identical car every six months thereafter.”

    “Turning it in” meant he bought a new vehicle every 6 months. I love how they made it sound like “Oh, sure Steve, just have your minion bring it by the lot and we’ll have a new one ready for you.” I’ll call the Audi dealer this afternoon and let them know I’m ready to “turn in” my A3 for a new one. I’m sure they’ll be happy to assist.

    Of course the justification for all that is because some idiot killed some guy and Uncle can’t dispense “justice.” One criminal act (or infinitesimal percentage of bad people) ruin it for everyone else.

    “The bill AB516 was the work of Tem Kevin Mullin – who was motivated by the hit-and-run death of Michael Bonanomi. He was killed in 2013 after a car that had paper dealer plates hit and killed him and the driver was never identified.”

    Or is it?

    “The law will also help California collect roughly $19 million a year in bridge and road tolls that the state loses due to unidentifiable cars.”

    • ” One criminal act (or infinitesimal percentage of bad people) ruin it for everyone else. “

      That is the kind of thinking government schools condition us with. Because Johnny can’t behave the whole class must now suffer or live with new rules and restrictions. Because this is done to us as children it becomes what adults demand for any problem. It’s a clever design by those with power and at this point probably few understand it, including those holding political office, as those that came up with it are long since dead.

      Another generation and it may not even matter who gets elected because no matter who it is 99% of them will think in the manner that furthers the design and the small percentage that don’t won’t be able to stop it.

      • In India, they tie a young elephant with a stake in the ground, and rope to its leg.
        As a young elephant, he cannot pull free.

        So as an adult, who could simply yank the stake free of the ground – he doesn’t even try.

        Learned helplessness.

        We are domesticated.
        We should make them fear the dark….

      • Another generation and it may not even matter who gets elected because no matter who it is 99% of them will think in the manner that furthers the design and the small percentage that don’t won’t be able to stop it.

        Y’know, I might actually accord the ruling class a modicum of grudging respect if they just did away with the charade of elections altogether and just appointed cronies from amongst themselves to office every few years. If they just flat-out came clean and said “Fuck all of you and your ‘representation!’ We rule and we’ll decide who rules you!”, I’d at least give them props for raw honesty and would also show a little gratitude for the fact that they finally stopped insulting my intelligence by pretending to “represent” me or rule “in my best interests. A turd is a turd and I can deal with it for what it is. Just stop covering it in chocolate and trying to make think it’s a gourmet Easter egg!

        • 1) The human farm animal is more productive under the illusion of freedom.
          2) This illusion effectively eliminates opposition. If they admit the nature of the system those who oppose cannot be branded delusional.

          Both of these harm them. They get less and people become more difficult to rule.

  9. Texas came up with the ultimate plan and of course, touted it as being a one stop shop which is exactly what it isn’t.

    First you go get insurance and the proof of such, then you present that at the inspection station before your vehicle can be inspected. Once you have passed said inspection, then you can take your combined insurance/inspection to the tax office and buy your registration.

    To make it tougher even still for truckers, they did away with inspection stickers. A good thing someone said. Not really. Now the excuse to pull you over is to check for the insurance/inspection/current registration. Well, while I have you stopped(here’s where you bend over and hand him some PrepH…..if all your “papers” are in order)I’m going to do a level 2 inspection. Oh fuck me, here we go wasting a lot of time and assured of getting some sort of ticket(s). I’ve had 17 at one time, really fucks up your CSA. On trucks where you’re constantly driving on really rough stuff, such as construction companies and the oil field, you always have some thing wrong and if you don’t, they’ll use some obscure law to write you up for.

    A couple years ago I was stopped for one of those checks. The rookie asshole occifer kept saying my tractor brakes were inexcusable, an obvious new word he’d learned since he said it so many times. These brakes are worn out, so old they’re just inexcusable. Hell was full of ’em…..inexcusables. He wrote me up for many violations including brakes on trailer and tractor. They were about the worst he’d ever seen. The trailer brakes were worn, not new but were adjusted just fine and worked fine. He red tagged both tractor and trailer and instead of letting me return to the pit only 3/8ths of a mile away, I was forced to follow him to an impound yard where the owner gladly let me dump this expensive rock on his drive so the rig could be “fixed”.

    The glaring problem with his entire premise was the brakes on the tractor were brand new, not just shoes but new drums but every single piece. While he was railing about it, I pointed out they were new. No way he says. It was nasty weather so yeah, everything was nasty but legal. Why did I think they were new he asked. Well, I went to the Peterbilt dealer and picked up a truck load of parts, every single part of the system in fact, brand new only 3 months ago and not just once but twice since they sold me the wrong drums the first time.

    Everybody should be a trucker for a couple years and we’d be getting somewhere when EVERYBODY was pissed off. That same stop got me a ticket also for no DOT numbers on the door. He didn’t mention it and I only found it on the ticket roll(about 4 feet long) riding to the house. Of course, there the numbers were straight from DOT along the bottom of the doors, big black letters and numbers on a red truck. Just fuck em all and feed em fishheads Cartman style.

    • Hi Eight,

      Sucks, and it’s an example (examples) of the lack of freedom in Texas – which is often touted as a “free” state.

      • eric, freedom anywhere on the northern American continent no longer exists. It’s rapidly going away everywhere. Compared to many states, Texas is a haven. Compared to others, it’s not so hot. But those “other” states that 20-30 years ago were comparatively freer than Tx. are now ranging from a bit freer to comparable.

        The freest state is anywhere you are and can’t be found easily. That’s become nigh onto impossible in the USSA. That will be no place for me since I’ve been on the “list” since 1971.

      • Sucks, and it’s an example (examples) of the lack of freedom in Texas – which is often touted as a “free” state.

        Texas is a pioneer in what I call “Waze Traps” which have spread up and down I-5 as of late. Austin passed a law proscribing a $500 fine for even touching a handheld electronic device while driving, and many of the neighboring communities quickly followed suit, adopting tougher laws than the statewide “no texting” ordnance.

  10. When I left Hawaii, I drove around the Mainland for several years with expired Hawaii plates and registration before some county sheriff deputies in Texas pulled me over and insisted I get the taxes paid — or else.

    Saved me hundreds of dollars, even after paying the fines.

    I was mulling over doing this again now that the tags are up for renewal, but not feeling like getting Sandra Blanded by some cop who doesn’t care much for my attitude, or maybe the bumper stickers saying I’m libertarian and “depraved”. The pull over occurred within days of getting the Depraved bumper sticker, so in retrospect that bit of humor might have cost me a lot more than the couple of bucks they charged me at the Planet K head shop.

    • I’ve likely mentioned this before. I once had a Canadian neighbor and Canadian co-workers who kept their vehicles registered in Canada and did not renew or did so very late. They were never hassled. What’s an Illinois cop going to do? Out of state people tend to do the same until they get threatened like you did. It got so bad Chicago created a new city law on out of state registered cars parked in the same area for X number of consecutive days or something like that to nail people living in the city and avoiding paying for the city sticker with out of state registration. (they didn’t care about the plates, just their own revenue. Michigan plates and a paid up city of chicago sticker is just fine)

      • When I was starting out my career I lived for 10 years in NYC and later NJ with Ontario license plates.

        I still paid the insurance mafia in Ontario, but, since it was registered in rural Ontario, the rate was far less expensive than the ridiculous rate levied on NY and NJ drivers.

        As an added bonus I never paid any bogus parking tickets — not that I went out of my way to break the parking fattwa’s I actually made sure I followed all parking laws. It’s just that the parking tickets really were bogus (i.e. arriving at 6:45 AM to move my car before the 7AM-11AM no parking times, only to find that a ticket has already been issued with a time of 7:03 AM).

        The car really was a beater (that’s all you’d want in these neighborhoods considering that many used the ‘bump-bump-bump’ method of parallel parking) and I never left anything thing valuable or identifiable in case the car ended up getting impounded and I’d be faced with the prospect of paying the accumulated tickets which would likely be worth more than the car itself.

        Ultimately this worked for years and I relocated (plus I finally wanted to start driving something more than a beater) so I ended up selling the vehicle to a guy who was visiting from Ontario, who simply drove it back there, where as far as the Ontario mafia (er, I mean government) was concerned, everything was A-ok and clean as far as transferring ownership and registering it in his name was concerned.

        This was some time ago, not sure if I’d do it now given the constant surveillance and the ALPR that are now out there constantly sniffing for this stuff (we didn’t really think they were using all this new technology to help recover stolen vehicles did we?).

    • Hi Jim,

      I avoid obvious political statement stickers for exactly this reason.

      If pulled over for expired stickers, I just act flustered and unknowing… I guess I forgot to renew it… etc.

      • I went with “respectfully, officer, I do not wish to answer any questions and do not consent to any searches.”

        The second time I said that, they quit asking questions.

        I understand not wanting to have bumper stickers that attract their attention, but fuck the pigs. Not gonna kowtow to them. I’ve had some awesome double takes and thumbs up from those bumper stickers.

        • I have a “Don’t Talk to Cops” bumper sticker that references donttalktocops.com, and I get the thumbs up from people all the time.

          Actually given the pervasive and immediate nature of the auto license and registration goons (especially with cameras and plate scanners everywhere) it would be pretty difficult to “get away with” no license and/or no registration unless maybe you’re in an extremely rural, middle-of-nowhere situation. I don’t think you’d get three blocks in a built-up area before being hauled off for the heinous crime of your papers not being in order.

  11. This is why inspection stickers and registration stickers change color and why speed limits are so aggressively “enforced,” and why the po-po pay no attention to left-lane slugs and real road hazards.

    It’s easy.

  12. I’ll tell you how we got to this point and why we keep paying it. They have guns and are not afraid to use them.

    A while ago I left my inspection and registration lapse. After a few weeks I decided to see how long it could go. I made it about 3 to 4 months before a Hero spotted it on the highway. I tried to avoid him without success.

    He informed me that for the “crime” of having an out of date tag he could confiscate my car!! Seriously, because my sticker is out of date they can steal my car. How insane. My car is in good condition, it looks to be and is safe, just a stupid sticker and $150 fee for stickers.

    This is in Pennsylvania.

    • ” They have guns and are not afraid to use them.”

      That is the actual basis for all government, despite the warm and fuzzy theory advanced in civics classes at the government indoctrination camps (aka public schools).

      Any government that gets outgunned, or loses their willingness to use them, becomes an ex-government. Which is why they try so hard to disarm the citizenry.

      Literally a form of the mafia with better PR.

    • Did he write you a ticket? I don’t see anything that would indicate that they can confiscate the car. I think he was blowing smoke. I would contact an attorney for sure, but I think that they have to give you the time to do that. From what I have seen police can confiscate a car on the spot for the following:

      1. Unlicensed driver
      2. DWI related offenses
      3. Racing

      Other areas are not so clear cut.

      I would have asked for a court date.

      • yeah the ticket was like $250 I think.

        He was probably just blowing smoke. I had my kids, wife and mother in law in the car, he needed to show how tough he was. It’s easy to see how things get out of hand. The cop clearly has an aggressive attitude and clearly was prepared to use force against me. Had I not been polite and bowed down it easily could have been worse.

        It’s funny how quickly kids learn that cops are bad guys and to avoid them.


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