Rocky Road for Florida's License Plates

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TALLAHASSEE, Fl. -- Oct. 17, 2012 --

The plan to redesign and redistribute the Florida license plate was put on the table because the state was losing an estimated $7 million bucks a year in tolls. But Florida's tax collectors say the current 2 year 15 million tag redistribution proposal could be terrible for customers.

"We do not want our online renewals and our mail ins to be subject to a third party, we want them to remain local, to be mailed out locally, from the tax collectors office," said Leon County Tax Collector Doris Maloy.

The Tax Collectors say a privatized third party handling a third of the license plate distribution could be customer service nightmare.

Let's say a person submitted their renewal online. After already waiting an extra three to five days to get their plate from the third party, what happens if it gets lost in a mail? The customer wouldn't take it up with the third party, but rather the local tax collector.

"Outsourcing isn't always the answer. Especially if you have in place a system that does appear to work and keeps consumers happy," said Executive Director of the Consumer Federation of the Southeast Walter Dartland.

As for consumer costs? All customers ordering by mail would have to pay a fee to the private vendor. Currently one fourth of tax collectors charge no mail fee, including in Leon County.

Tallahassee, FL - A plan to redesign and redistribute Florida license plates is getting some heat. Florida's tax collectors are not on board with the plan.

About a dozen or so tax collectors from throughout the state met in Tallahassee today because they say the redistribution plan for the new tags won't help customers long term.

They wanted to make clear that they have no problem with redesign and say they can handle redistributing the 15 million tags starting next year. Under the states new plan, however, the tax collectors wouldn't be handling all the redistributions. An estimated one third of redistributions would be handled by a privatized third party, and that's where they say the headaches for customers could begin.

Tallahassee, FL (AP) - Florida motorists could soon be hitting the road with new license plates.

The state's highway safety agency is drawing up plans for a redesigned plate intended to make it easier to catch toll scofflaws and people who run red lights.

State officials say red light cameras can't always read the currently designed plates.

Gov. Rick Scott as well as the Florida Legislature will have to sign off on the decision to issue new license plates. The new plates will have a simpler design and no raised lettering.

Julie Jones, executive director of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, says the new plates won't cost motorists any extra because the state expects to make money from people who have not updated their tags in the past.

AP-WF-10-09-12 2123GMT

Tallahassee, FL - The cars in your driveway may soon be sporting a new look courtesy of the State of Florida. The state has plans to redesign and replace most vehicle license plates over a two year period. The new plate is not expected to cost you more, but concerns are being raised.

License plates have been made the same way for more than three decades by prison inmates. But that could soon change. The state contends the raised letters make it hard for cameras to capture the tag number.

“Just in the period from January this year till August, we had 2.8 million unreadable tags in the red light camera”, says Julie Jones Executive Director , Department of Highway Safety.

Red light and toll booth cameras have trouble distinguishing between a B and an 8 or an O and a Q. The confusion is costing the state seven million a year in lost tolls. “Which is not fair that you may pay for a toll and someone else doesn’t”, says Governor Rick Scott.

Twenty-five years ago, the state held a contest and picked six finalists, then ended up just changing the state outline from green to red. This time, there are four similar designs, all flat for the cameras, an online poll is likely.

“I think it would be nice to let Floridians engage in the conversation about what would they like the look to be”, says Jeff Atwater, Florida CEO.

In the end, the final pick will be a group decision of the Governor and Cabinet. Tax Collectors, who stand to lose money are raising concerns, which the Attorney General says need to be considered. “We need to look at what’s most efficient, what’s cost effective”, says Pam Bondi, Attorney General.

The state says the changeover will force the tag cheats to get the new plates and it will more than make up for $31 million in cost.

A new list of suspected non-citizen registered voters has been handed over to Supervisor of Elections in Florida, after a federal judge ruled it was okay for the state to remove voters who had registered illegally. The latest list contains 198 names, far fewer than the 1700 once suspected of registering to vote illegally. Governor Rick Scott is trying to use the purge to raise money for the GOP.

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