The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette has an editorial that, among other things, suggests that the Bureau of Motor Vehicle is breaking the law in its practices with respect to distributing the “In God We Trust” license plate. It appears that the BMV is distributing the plates without requiring an application required for the specialty plate.
IC 9-18-24.5-4(1) says:
A person . . . may receive an “In God We Trust” license plate . . . after doing the following: (1) Completing an application for an In God We Trust license plate.
IC 9-18-2-9 further requires the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to “use due diligence in examining and determining the genuineness, regularity, and legality of” any application.
By sidestepping this bit of red-tape, the BMV is giving every indication of preferring the message on this specialty plate over other non-religious messages. This appearance is compounded by the fact that the BMV’s practices with respect to the IGWT plates is costing a fair amount of money:
The emphasis on distributing the specialty plate is especially puzzling considering the agencyâ€™s recent efforts to control costs. The â€œIn God We Trustâ€ plate costs more to make than the blue-and-green standard tag â€“ 50 cents more per plate, to be precise. With 824,504 â€œIn God We Trustâ€ plates distributed as of last Saturday, thatâ€™s an additional $412,000 the agency has spent on plates. Six months into the year, that takes a hefty chunk out of the $1â€‚million annual inventory cost savings the BMV boasts will be realized by replacing the one- or two-digit county indicator plates with a county sticker.
I’ll go out on a limb here and say that I don’t think a government agency should ignore legislative requirements and waste taxpayer money to promote a religious message. I suppose that makes me a radical of some sort.