Specialty License Plates: the Ultimate in Picking Winners & Losers (video)

Arizona specialty plate

Love ’em or hate ’em specialty license plates are a bipartisan issue. People on both sides of the aisle sponsor license plate bills, and people on both sides (like me) have vowed to vote against all of them.

Vehicle owners can pay additional fees to customize their license plates by having custom text and/or a specialty plate design. This video focuses on the proliferation of specialty plates. The Arizona Legislature has approved more than 60 specialty plates. Other states like Maryland and Texas have hundreds of specialty plates. What’s up with that?

How are specialty plate designs proposed and created? A Legislator introduces a bill to create a specialty plate design of behalf of a group, organization, or nonprofit that fits such a tight definition in statute. This tight definition ensures that only one entity qualifies to receive $17/plate/year fee from sale of the plate. Only the connected need apply. That is why I say specialty plates are the ultimate in picking winners and losers.

Continue reading Specialty License Plates: the Ultimate in Picking Winners & Losers (video)

Two #GOP License Plate Bills Killed in #AZHouse, One Rises from Dead as Zombie (video)

Arizona specialty plate

Specialty license plates. Ugh. Arizona has too many.

Those of you who have been following me for a while know that I have been against specialty license plates since my first term in the Arizona House in 2017. Specialty license plates are a way for legislators to funnel money into pet projects or favorite charities. The gift clause prohibits us from doing this, but these license plates pass routinely on bipartisan votes with a wink and a nod. I have heard legislators shout out on the floor, “This is for XYZ charity please vote yes!”

Up until today all of these specialty license plates have passed, even though many of us on both sides of the aisle are fed up with them. Bipartisan votes have given Arizona more than 60 specialty license plates. Many years ago, specialty plates were a lame way to fund state departments. For full disclosure, one of our cars has the Arizona Highways plate, one of the originals. Several different plates fund different veterans services. All of the universities and colleges (public and private) have plates. Nonprofit foundations affiliated with for-profit corporations have plates. Cathi Herrod’s Center for Arizona Policy has a specialty plate. Is this any way to run a government? Should goverment fees go to pet causes?

The Arizona Department of Transportation warned the Legislature a few years ago that they would have to reprogram their license plate database if the Legislature went over 60 plates, and, of course, we cavalierly did. During debate a few years ago, Rep. T.J. Shope said 60 plates was nothing compared to Maryland and Texas who have around 400 specialty plates each. That’s crazy– not to mention the difficulties for law enforcement or the questions about where the money is going. (For the record, Arizona’s goal should not be to be as crazy as Texas.)

Continue reading Two #GOP License Plate Bills Killed in #AZHouse, One Rises from Dead as Zombie (video)