Thursday, April 05, 2007

in god we trust, or the high cost of "free"

over at her new digs at shakesville (formerly known as shakespeare's sister), melissa has noted a troubling fact about indiana's new "in god we trust" license plates, which have been flooding the streets.

hoosiers will already know that the IGWT plate, unlike the dozens of other specialty plates offered, is available at no extra charge, in what would seem to be a state endorsement of christianity (especially if the rumors of bmv employees giving out the plates without even asking are true). typically, specialty plates cost $15-40 or more extra, with a few bucks going to the bmv to pay for extra costs, and the rest going to a specially designated charity—so if you get an IU plate, some money goes to indiana university; if you get a "kids first" plate, some money goes to children's charities.

as melissa notes, because indiana doesn't charge even one penny extra for the IGWT plates, the state actually loses money on every IGWT plate it issues. as originally reported by the gary post-tribune:

The "In God We Trust" plate doesn't carry an extra fee -- not even the processing fee the BMV usually receives when it issues the other speciality plates.

In fact, BMV is absorbing the $3.69 cost of producing each plate. The money comes out of the Motor Vehicle Highway Fund, Cook said.

It's the same fund which pays for the state police and helps fund road repairs at the local, county and state level. The biggest contributor is the state tax on gasoline, according to state budget.

the paper of montgomery county reports that already 389,575 IGWT plates have been issued since january. that means that, as of april 3, the state of indiana had already "absorbed" $1,437,531.75 in extra costs due to the IGWT plates.

that's almost one and a half million dollars that could be paying for much-needed road repairs. and the plates have only been available for three months. if we extrapolate those numbers through the rest of the year, we're looking at $4–5 million dollars for 2007 alone. that might not be a large portion of the state's budget, but you could buy a hell of a lot of jesus fish magnets for that kind of scratch. for $3.69 per person, we could give each christian a free jesus fish magnet and a yellow support our troops magnet and still have 69 cents left over!


Anonymous said...

I'll be thinking of this next time I drive over a pothole - that the money to fix it went to create that crappy plate on the car driven by the guy who tries to run me off the road...

Anonymous said...

Amen, Sister Steph!

Anonymous said...

we could feed sme hungry some some much we could do instead of "free" license plates ugh
for that matter the amount of money raised by presidental canidates so far is obscene...