Since 2000, the State Wildflower Specialty License Plate has generated more than $2.5 million for native wildflower research, planting and education. In 2010, the tag - which generates about $250,000 annually - ranked No. 33 in sales among the 123 Specialty License Plates in Florida.
Through the purchase of such Specialty License Plates, 1.6 million motorists annually donate millions of dollars to charities throughout the state. When an environmental, social, health, sports or collegiate plate is purchased, the price includes an "annual use fee" - a donation that supports important work for Florida and its residents. Since Florida's Specialty License Plate program began, more than $450 million has been raised for worthy causes and programs. The state also benefits, taking in revenue through fees.
Florida's Senate and House now are considering a bill that would authorize a corporate plate program that would allow businesses to put their brand on license tags. Corporations would make their tags attractive to consumers by offsetting about 50 percent of the cost of motor vehicle registration. Where Specialty Plate organizations had to file a marketing plan and financial analysis, pre-sell 1,000 plates and pay up to $60,000 to offset the cost of the application process, the bill asks corporations to pay $5,000 and provide evidence of the ability to pay $75 per vehicle owner for 5,000 vehicle owners.
A Senate interim report estimates that more than 49 percent of existing Specialty Plate owners are likely to switch to corporate plates if the bill is passed. The move would cost the state an estimated $17 million, with an additional loss of $4 million in processing fees. It also would cost Floridians millions of dollars as a result of the loss of beneficial services and programs.
A key hearing on the Corporate License Plate bill is being held today at 1 p.m. in Tallahassee. If you would like to educate your elected representatives about the detrimental effects that a corporate plate program - as described in Senate Bill 716 and House Bill 473 - would have on social, health, educational and environmental services and programs in Florida, you can use this link to send an email directly to lawmakers.
Florida Wildflower Foundation