Texas' new vanity license plates – Click above for high-res image gallery

Every state in the union is facing huge budget deficits and a number have turned to license plates as a way to raise some fast cash. First was New York, which recently unveiled a new "Empire Gold" license plate. The catch? Any citizen who wants to legally drive is required to buy one when his or her current plates expire. And they're more expensive than the old ones to boot.

Speaking of boots, Texas is also planning to raise funds with license plates, but in this case it's totally optional. The Lone Star state recently unveiled a spate of new vanity plates on MyPlates.com that cost between $55 and $195 smackaroos. The selection is as large as the state itself (and its hats) including standard Lone Star plates in crazy colors like hot pink and orange (Texas calls them Lone Star Pink and Lone Star Orange), as well as an Old West-themed plate and other Texassy designs.

Sure, $195 for a vanity plate is a lot, but the money's divided between the state and its two partners in this joint venture: Pinnacle Technical Resources of Dallas and Etech Inc. of Nacogdoches. Regardless of the three-way split, the state is reportedly guaranteed $25 million over five years. Hey, if it'll help keep a few extra public school teachers employed and essential services in tact, then its worth living down the fact that your state now offers a hot pink license plate.

[Source: USA Today via Star-Telegram]

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