Indiana acts to end motorists' involuntary political contributions

| 4/20/2005

If you live in Indiana, you may have been contributing money to both the Republican and Democratic parties – and never even known it.

Under a longtime law in the state, a portion of every fee paid for a personalized license plate on a car has been sent to the two parties. The Chicago Sun Times reported that the contributions amounted to $30 out of every $48 paid for a personalized plate. The funding, the newspaper said, is “a vestige of a time decades ago when the parties ran the BMV (Bureau of Motor Vehicles).”

Legislative documents show that the division of money was based on a formula involving what percentage of voters cast their ballots for a particular political party or its gubernatorial candidate in the previous elections.

Now, a bill that would send that money back to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles has passed both houses of the state’s Legislature.

The Sun Times said that bill, SB467, would shift roughly $1 million a year back to the bureau.

An official in the state’s legislative research office said that after legislative leaders sign off on the final version of the bill, it would head to the desk of Gov. Mitch Daniels for his signature.