indiana bloggers have been complaining about those pesky "in god we trust" license plates since they came out last year. it's not just that they're a blatant, unconstitutional government endorsement of christianity. the biggest problem with the plates is that they were distributed at no extra charge. this means that not only does the state lose money on each IGWT plate it sells, since the IGWT plates are more expensive to produce, but that other specialty plates were unfairly impacted, effectively taking money away from local nonprofits.
a year later, the sales numbers are in, and the IBJ crunches the numbers. the indianapolis colts were big winners in 2007, seeing a 131% increase in plate sales thanks to their super bowl win. area nonprofits didn't fare so well. the following IBJ chart pretty much says it all:
thanks in large part to the 1.5 million IGWT plates sold last year, 47% fewer environment plates were sold. that means that the state environmental trust that benefits from those plates received 47% less money from license plate fees in 2007.
similarly, indiana kids first saw a 57% decrease in license plate revenue, the education trust got hit with a 56% decrease, and hoosier safety gets a 51% decrease. IU and purdue saw 38% and 27% decreases, respectively. only the mighty marketing machine at riley hospital escaped relatively unscathed, with only an 11% decrease.
while other factors were likely involved in these sales decreases, the #1 factor is undeniably the rollout of the IGWT plates. a million and a half people switched to those plates, and the result is millions of dollars less going to indiana nonprofits. all so that christians can drive around with a government endorsement of their religion tacked onto their cars, without even having to pay a few bucks extra for it. ¶