The new proposal would set requirements for groups to sell at least 500 plates a year and submit records on how they spend the proceeds, both of which are quite sensible. An eight-member bipartisan panel would review all the requests for new plates and recommend up to five new plates a year with a maximum of 150 allowed. That number is probably too high – the more of something there is, the less special it is – but it’s not a fatal flaw.
Nowhere in the bill is there a hint that the approval process will involve any value judgments about any group’s worthiness. Such judgments aren’t precluded, of course. Let’s see what happens if a Prostitutes for Peace or Let’s Nuke the Whales group wants a plate.
The plates are a nice benefit to offer Hoosier motorists. By paying a few dollars extra, drivers can support their favorite causes, and the general populace isn’t hit with a new tax. Citizens decide, by which plates they choose to buy and which they don’t, which groups they want to support and which they don’t.
But if the program isn’t managed carefully, it can be more trouble than it’s worth.