So the State of Florida recently had a two day event called “Operation Green Light.” What this event was, was all of the offices for the state’s county clerks would waive the collection fees for people who had old traffic tickets whose fines had been sent to collection agencies. Watch the report here.

Orange county alone has 400,000 unpaid traffic tickets, which they claim is millions missing from the county’s budget. Did you get that? Counties admit that traffic tickets are about getting more money. The police departments’ primary mission is bringing money into the county coffers, not preventing crime or catching lawbreakers.

I am one of the people who is in collections for an old ticket. I got a speeding ticket in Melbourne in 2001, 14 years ago. I went to the clerk’s office when I got the ticket and paid the fine. Ten years later, I got a letter from a collection agency, claiming that I had underpaid my fine by $45.50. I sent them a letter, telling them that I had paid the fine that I was told to pay at the time, and the fact that the clerk miscalculated the fine when I paid it was not my problem, as I had a receipt.

They responded by saying that fines from a government agency are not subject to the statute of limitations, nor are they subject to the Federal Laws on Collecting debts. They can continue to hound me about it until the end of time. What I DID discover, however, is that they cannot suspend my license, nor can they place it on my credit bureau reports. I sent them a letter telling them that I was not going to pay it, and that there was nothing that they could legally do to force me to do so.

In other words, all they can do is continue to send me letters every month, which they have done since the summer of 2012. In other words, they have spent more in postage trying to collect this fine than the amount of the fine would net them.

This is why government is so wasteful: they just don’t understand money. Even with armed collection agents that can force you to participate, the ability to force you to pay or go to jail, and exceptions to the law that allow them to abuse the system, they still can’t make money.

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1 Comment

Anonymous · April 21, 2015 at 10:15 am

I can testify, especially about one of your mentions, that you are entirely correct in your conclusion that governments do not have the vaguest comprehension about finances, specifically expenses and ROI.

I think I'll choose to not discuss it publicly, however.

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