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Assault on Specialty License Plates
There are more than 180 specialty license plates currently available for purchase from the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. The majority of plates were developed specifically to benefit agencies and charities around the state.
House Bill 1 and Senate Bill 1278 include provisions to take 50% of annual specialty plate revenue going to charitable organizations or agencies, to attempt to fix the $23 billion budget deficit.
What bill authors don’t realize is that this move to deplete critical funding from cash-strapped charities and other organizations would only generate a little more than $1 million annually – a drop in the bucket compared to the state deficit. (See below for detailed breakdown.)
What you can do
Every call, e-mail, or visit to a legislative office counts! Phone numbers and email address for the Senate Finance Committee are below, contact them immediately to ask them to remove the specialty license plate provisions from SB 1278. Follow these guidelines for addressing your representative, and be sure to state that you are a constituent or how you are tied to the district.
If you represent an organization that receives revenue from a specialty license plate, contact Robin Stallings at email@example.com or 512-476-7433 and add your name to the fast-growing coalition (see below).
Send a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org to join the email list and get the most up-to-the-minute information about the progress of these bills and what you can do to help remove these provisions.
Senate Finance Committee Members
Sen. Steve Ogden (Committee Chair)
Sen. Juan Hinojosa (Committee Vice Chair)
Sen. Bob Deuell
Sen. Robert Duncan
Sen. Kevin Eltife
Sen. Craig Estes
Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr.
Sen. Jane Nelson
Sen. Dan Patrick
Sen. Kel Seliger
Sen. Florence Shapiro
Sen. Royce West
Sen. John Whitmire
Sen. Tommy Williams
Sen. Judith Zaffirini
Charity License Plate Coalition Organizations
Alliance for Life
American Quarter Horse Association
Friends of Big Bend
Knights of Columbus
March of Dimes
Texas BASS Federation Nation
Texas State Rifle Association
How the numbers break down
In 2010, revenue of approximately $16,330,000 was collected from the sale of specialty license plates in Texas.
Out of the $16,330,00 total revenue, highway and general funds received about $10,811,000. Also, a private vendor firm, MyPlates.com, received $2,740,624 in commission. This leaves $2,779,000 for agencies and charities. Under HB 1 / SB 1278, this money for agencies and charities would be cut in half, while MyPlates.com would continue to receive its existing commission.
For 2010, the approximate breakdowns of beneficiaries from the charity plate are as follows:
- Scholarships: $515,000
- State Agencies: $618,000
- Grant and Non-profits: $1,463,200
- Municipalities: $181,700
The specialty plates provision in the appropriations bill will not balance the budget. Since agencies and charities only receive about $2,779,000, based on the 2010 statistics, and the bill proposes to take 50 of that revenue, the state would receive a little more than $1 million annually.
The state currently has a budget deficit of over $23 billion. This money taken from agencies and charities would be a drop in the bucket.