We've never really understood the logic behind purchasing a specialized license plate to fund some sort of cause. Wouldn't it make more sense to just send your money directly to whatever organization is championing the issue and slap a bumper sticker on your car next to the standard plate?
Indeed, California drivers who paid for a special 9/11 memorial plate might consider this option the next time they get out their checkbook at the DMV. Because according to an Associated Press report, the state has not been making good on its promises to use the money collected through sales of the special plates to fund scholarships for children of 9/11 victims and underwrite anti-terrorism initiatives.
Of the $15 million collected through sales of the plates, $3 million has been used to fill holes in the state budget, paying for programs that have little or nothing to do with terrorism. Further, the state stopped funding the scholarship program seven years ago, while continuing to advertise the plates as a benefit to children of 9/11 victims, according to the report. It has since updated its website to remove references to the scholarship program.
The memorial license plates cost $50 and then $40 to renew each year, and were introduced in 2002. Over 200,000 plates have been purchased or renewed since then, according to the report.
While each of the plates reads "We will never forget," apparently state agencies who have spent the money on routine operations have. "They are not following the spirit and intent of the legislation," Herb Wesson, the former speaker of the California Assembly and author of the license plate bill told the AP.