Thursday, January 10, 2013

Specialty plates bringing in the bucks

Bill signing for House Bill 1329, 5/3/2011
Back in 2011, Representative Marcie Maxwell partnered with Music Aid Northwest to support Washington students. Maxwell introduced House Bill 1329 to create and sell “Music Matters” specialty license plates to benefit music education programs in our schools. Upon introduction of the bill, Maxwell noted that “We must acknowledge the essential value of music education and continue to promote a well-rounded curriculum for all Washington students”.
Earlier this week, the Everett Herald reported that specialty license plates like “Music Matters” are creating somewhat of a windfall for nonprofit organizations and state agencies. In fact, about $1.9 million was collected from July 2010 to December 2011 according to a report from the Department of Licensing. These dollars go to support a variety of causes aside from music education, including wildlife protection, trail maintenance, and support for law enforcement officers, soldiers, and professional firefighters.
The Herald also reports on the importance of these specialty plates for students at our state's public universities.
But the report only tells part of the story because it does not include plates issued before the law took effect. Among those are the most popular specialty plates on the road -- those for the state's six public four-year universities. Those plates have been generating money for scholarship funds since the mid-'90s.

For some it's a big deal.

Take Washington State University. There were 3,454 WSU plates sold and 18,199 renewed between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012, according to Department of Licensing records. That alone brought in more than $500,000 for scholarships.
These figures are just another example of how the state can partner with non-profits entities with successful results. Plus, Washington drivers get to support their favorite causes without cluttering their bumpers- not that we have anything against an impressive display of bumper stickers. You can read the entire piece on specialty license plates over at the Everett Herald’s website. The report prepared by the Department of Licensing will be delivered to lawmakers next week, just in time for the 2013 legislative session.