Bob Burke’s ODOT 100: Celebrating the First 100 Years of Transportation in Oklahoma (OKC: Oklahoma Heritage Association, 2011) contains the following bit of history, which should surprise no one who’s been exposed to this state’s tendency toward orneriness:
As the new Highway Commissioner [in 1911], [Sidney] Suggs had good intentions. However, he had little money to work with. A large number of Oklahoma vehicle owners, perhaps as much as 60 percent, refused to pay the $1 per vehicle tax. There was no organized system of collecting the tax, no central list of vehicle owners, and no effective enforcement effort to punish vehicle owners who did not pay.
Suggs, no dummy, came up with this brainstorm: local citizens, rather than state employees, would be appointed to collect the tax, which they would then send to the state, keeping a small percentage as a fee. The tag-agent system continues to this day.