KINGMAN – Are you a veteran who is proud of your service and wants to display it as such through your license plate? What about non-veterans who want a specialty license plate to show support for those who served their country? People are finding the fees associated with those plates are more than expected.
Purchasing an Arizona veteran’s license plate costs an initial $25, and each yearly renewal of those plates also costs $25. However, the majority of the money raised through specialty plates goes to a good cause.
“Of that $25, $17 goes to the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services,” said Doug Nick, spokesman for the Arizona Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Division. “So the money is used to support our veterans.”
Veterans’ services uses that money to fund veteran healthcare, education, cemeteries and veteran homes in Phoenix and Tucson. The $8 that doesn’t go the veterans’ services is used for administrative and production costs.
About $1.4 million was raised last year through funds collected via specialty plates. Nick says a similar amount is expected in this fiscal year ending June 30.
“So far, they account for $1.2 million,” Nick said. “We expect it to be well over at the end of year. This is a very helpful program for veterans.”
Veterans or their immediate family members wanting a specialty plate must be able to prove their veteran’s status. Non-veterans who want to show their support can also purchase a “freedom plate.” That money also goes to the department of veterans’ services.
“In the last fiscal year, that raised $650,000 for those services, and is on track to meet or exceed that for this current fiscal year as well,” Nick said.
ADOT isn’t charging these prices at random, either.
“Those costs are established by state law and arranged by the legislature, and we administer the program and provide the plates,” Nick said.
William Voigt is a veteran and a Golden Valley resident who doesn’t think veterans should be paying additional fees on top of the $17 that goes to veterans’ services.
“I understand if that goes back to the veterans’ programs, I can understand that,” he said. “But it just seems that people who served their country shouldn’t be charged extra.”
Rather, he believes those funds could be raised on a volunteer basis.
Veteran plates aren’t the only specialty plates that cost $25, they all do. A Cardinals fan who buys a specialty Cardinals plate will be charged the same amount, $17 again going to charitable organizations. The same can be said for those who purchase a Northern Arizona University specialty plate, for instance.
“MVD proudly supports our veterans and their families and we are honored to be part of such a worthy and successful program,” Nick said in an email.