Tag: generating revenue

The Cost Of Vanity

Nobody likes paying taxes, except for maybe rich leftist morons who view their sacrifice as all part of the greater good in perpetuating some Marxist utopia, but all sane folks feel they are pretty much tapped out. This is not good news for city/state municipalities who find themselves on the wrong end of their VISA bill, what to do? Since no emails from East Anglia have turned up casting suspicion on that whole blood/turnip quandary, more creative thinking is needed. One area that has garnered some attention of late is the ability to get folks to pay for special treatment, what can the state provide that would separate them from the usual riff raff and make them all warm and fuzzy inside? Bingo, vanity license plates:

To boost state coffers, Texas sold a Dallas doctor a “PORSCHE” for $7,500.

Then it sold him “AMERICA” for $3,000.

Both were license plates, sold at auction. “I will get my American citizenship next month, so it means a lot to me,” says Salman Waheed, an intensive-care physician. He also wanted “FERRARI,” but dropped out when bidding for that one went too high—eventually netting $15,000, the top price paid.

After years of selling vanity plates as a modest sideline—charging as little as $5—states think there’s more money to be made in whatever drives people to buy them. Facing budget crunches, states are raising surcharges or proposing annual fee hikes for custom plates.

Paying extra for the privilege of making a statement is not new. California figured this out years ago, they offer several variations of this theme, from not only different backgrounds but a personalized message on that background. Fees for these plates run anywhere up to a hundred bucks.

I have owned a personalized license plate now for about 20 years (the same plate), and every year I pay my extra fees for the privilege. But now I’m getting nervous, if this auction stuff catches on and it becomes necessary to bid on holding on to this plate, I’m going to be pissed.

Other countries have already mined this vein, with big results. A businessman in Abu Dhabi bought a license plate with “1” at an auction for $14.3 million in 2008. Last year, in England, a retired businessman bought “1 RH”—his initials—for about $400,000. Hong Kong sold a plate that read “STORAGE” for $12,000.

Just like foreigners, ruining a good thing by going to extremes. I think a C note is about the limit to my magnanimity towards the state, any higher and I will go back to being a member of the great unwashed.

Finding something original and personal to you now is all but impossible, and trying to sneak something dirty by the DMV Nazi’s, good luck with that.

Anybody out there have vanity plates? Do you think this is a clever idea in generating income(auctioning off each plate to the highest bidder), and what is the ceiling price for you walking away from something that you have had forever?