You can “gift” speciality license plates

State officials on Wednesday launched a “Gift-A-Tag” program that enables people to give someone a specialty license plate.

You know, the ones with the Memphis Tigers logo, or the Lady Vols, or more than a hundred others issued by the state of Tennessee representing colleges, universities, sports teams, branches of the military, special-interest organizations, professional groups and others.

The goal is to increase revenue for the arts. About 70 percent of the grants awarded by the Tennessee Arts Commission to state and local arts groups are funded with revenue from the sale of specialty plates.

State Treasurer David Lillard; Sen. Mark Norris, R-Collierville; Sen. Doug Overbey, R-Maryville; Tennessee Arts Commission executive director Anne Pope and others launched the sale of gift certificates and electronic vouchers for the purchase of specialty plates of the recipient’s choice.

In Tennessee, the plates cost $35 a year, on top of the state’s annual vehicle registration fee of $24 and local wheel taxes, which vary across the state.

The vouchers pay for the initial purchase, and the recipient pays the annual renewal to keep the specialty tag valid. The idea, Norris said, is that motorists who already have specialty tags for organizations they support can increase their support by paving the way for friends and associates to get one.

“We believe it will produce a dramatically higher level of revenue for the arts,” said Lillard. Norris and Rep. Steve McManus, R-Memphis, sponsored the bill in 2014 that created the gift vouchers.

Buyers can purchase vouchers online at using a credit or debit card. The system generates a confirmation and an email notification to the gift recipient. The recipient takes the voucher into their local county clerk’s office to buy a tag. The vouchers are nonrefundable.

Written by: Richard Locker, The Commercial Appeal

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