Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Legislator floats idea to let corporations sponsor license plates

TALLAHASSEE — With the economy in the tank, a Florida lawmaker is considering an unusual idea to raise money: let corporations pay to put logos on license plates.

The idea of letting corporations like Disney or Nike sponsor license plates is being floated by state Sen. Mike Fasano, a New Port Richey Republican and transportation budget chairman.

"We were asked to come up with new innovative ways to save taxpayers money," Fasano explained. "I figured why not give it a shot and see if people are interested. I think it's a fun choice."

The legislation, which is still being crafted, would generate money for the state but use some proceeds to give drivers a discount on annual registration fees if they get a corporate tag.

Fasano plans to bring the legislation before his colleagues at a hearing next week.

It's not the first time license plates have entered the political discourse. For years, specialty plates such as "Choose Life" or "I Believe" have spurred heated debates.

Texas began allowing corporate license plates in 2009 with a RE/MAX plate featuring the company's hot-air balloon and slogan.

But so far in Florida, the issue is generating mostly laughs.

"Does this mean you can put a beer logo on your license plate?" asked state Sen. Dave Aronberg. "It opens up a world of possibility for late-night comics."

The Greenacres Democrat spoke from his cell phone as he drove down the highway. "The way some people drive, I'm not sure a corporation would want to put their name on a license plate," he added.

It's a serious subject for Sen. Larcenia Bullard, who fought the expansion of specialty plates last year. The state now offers more than 100 designs and more options are proposed this year.

"To further extend this to advertisements, I believe is going too far," the Miami Democrat said.

Fasano said putting advertising on license plates is no different from selling space to McDonald's or Wendy's on blue highway off ramp signs and on city buses.

"We see commercialization everywhere … whether we turn the corner and see a billboard or turn the corner and there's a bench — a simple bench with an advertisement," he said.

Which corporation would Fasano let sponsor his tag? It's a decision with political overtones.

"Ford," he said. "They are the only U.S. car company that didn't take federal bailout money, and plus I've always been a Ford fan."

John Frank can be reached at jfrank@sptimes.com or (850) 224-7263.

Legislator floats idea to let corporations sponsor license plates 03/05/10 [Last modified: Friday, March 5, 2010 10:50pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. No. 12 FSU, freshman QB James Blackman struggle in 27-21 loss to N.C. State

    College

    TALLAHASSEE — Whatever was left of No. 12 Florida State's College Football Playoff hopes suffered a massive, likely fatal, blow Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium.

    Florida State Seminoles wide receiver Nyqwan Murray (8) carries during the first quarter of the Florida State Seminoles game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack on September 23, 2017, at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla.  At the half, North Carolina State Wolfpack 17, Florida State Seminoles 10.
  2. Trump tells Warriors star Stephen Curry that White House visit is off

    Nba

    SOMERSET, N.J. — Stephen Curry and President Donald Trump agree on one thing: The Golden State star is not going to the White House anytime soon.

    Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry poses for photos during NBA basketball team media day Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. [Associated Press]
  3. For starters: Rays at Orioles, facing another old friend in Jeremy Hellickson

    Blogs

    UPDATE, 3:29: Here is the Rays lineup, with Duda at 1B and Morrison the DH:

  4. Pinellas construction licensing board needs to be fixed. But how?

    Local Government

    LARGO –– Everyone agrees that the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board needs to be reformed. But no one agrees on how to do it.

    Rodney Fischer, former executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board Rodney, at a February meeting. His management of the agency was criticized by an inspector general's report. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  5. Charles Bradley, acclaimed Florida soul singer, dies at 68

    Blogs

    Acclaimed Florida R&B powerhouse Charles Bradley, whose raw, pained voice earned him the nickname the Screaming Eagle of Soul, has died of cancer at 68, his representatives announced Saturday.

    Charles Bradley performed at the 2016 Gasparilla Music Festival.