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Example GA Wildflower LicenseWhen we first got our license plate several years ago, only certain specialty license plates had a yearly renewal cost. We figured it was within our budget to make a one-time donation to the DNR, so we threw caution to the wind and got the specialty tag with the Rudbeckia flower to the left and the phrase ‘wildflowers in my  heart‘ set below.

As of May 26, 2010, the GA Department of Revenue began charging $35 per year for the wildflower license plate through the GA Motor Vehicle Division. That’s probably a good thing for people who are acquiring a new license. However, it doesn’t make a lot of sense for those of us who already paid for the specialty plate under a different set of circumstances. Here’s why…

For specialty tags created for school affiliation or with phrases like ‘pie-yum’, it makes sense to charge that yearly fee. These tags are like telephone numbers or website addresses. They have a certain cache with the right crowd. The original intent behind offering the wildflower tag was to capture a certain demographic that might be willing to make that one-time donation to a worthy cause, but might not be willing to make the committment on a yearly basis. It was a good bet that some car owners would be willing to spring once – especialy students, for obvious reasons.

From what we were told at the DMV, most people give up the one-time-fee specialty license plate when they realize the new law means that they’re going to have to pay the extra tax each year, even though it wasn’t part of the original deal. That means Georgia tax dollars are being used to make and distribute new tags just because someone bought a specialty plate originally with a one-time fee who cannot or will not pay for it on a yearly basis. It would have been smarter if they had grandfathered in existing single-cost tags, thus spending less of our tax dollars needlessly.

The original expenditure was a good will gesture. Forcing the issue during an economic down-turn is not well-planned.

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