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Editorial: Proposed plan seems mostly about money

Jan. 30, 2013 @ 12:03 AM

As part of its budget request to Gov. John Kasich, the Ohio Department of Public Safety indicates it is concerned about the condition of license plates on vehicles owned by residents of the Buckeye State.

In a letter to the governor, Public Safety Director Thomas Charles said law enforcement agencies have expressed concerns about the difficulty of reading rusted and faded letters and numbers on the vehicle plates.

The department's answer is to propose a requirement that Ohio motorists replace their license plates every seven years. Of course, that will cost each motorist a minimum of $10 for a new plate.

The same proposal also calls for the Ohio Motor Vehicle Bureau to recall red-white-blue bicentennial plates and the older gold-tinted plates in December 2013. That, of course, would mean even more plates to be purchased, at $10 a pop. And people who may want to keep the same license plate number or specialty plate will have to pay an extra fee, although just how much isn't specified.

Keep in mind this is part of a budget plan, so the financial numbers apparently are an important factor. The fees for plate renewals would bring $5 million a year into state coffers for fiscal years 2014 and 2015, The Plain Dealer reported.

Currently, Ohio law requires that motorists replace plates only when letters and numbers become "unreadable, or when the state determines that the plates are no longer viable," Joe Andrews, director of communications for the department, told The Plain Dealer of Cleveland.

Considering this, the proposal requiring new plates seems more about bringing money into state coffers than holding motorists accountable. The state may want to consider better enforcement of the current law rather than forcing motorists to replace their license plates even if they are in good condition.

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