Ill. mulls selling license plate ads

Monday, June 13, 2011

Hard up for money, Illinois is considering of selling advertising space on its state license plates.

The idea is to allow corporate sponsors to put their business logos on the plates, which would be offered to drivers at a discount.

Lawmakers voted last month to have the secretary of state study the pros and cons of corporate plates. The study, meant to gauge interest and potential revenues, should be finished by Jan. 1.

Sen. John Mulroe, D-Chicago said he hopes corporate plates will be a way to bring in more money without raising taxes.

Texas already allows corporate plates, which are produced by a firm called My Plates. The companies that have signed up include the Re/Max real estate business and a hamburger chain called Mighty Fine Burgers.

"License plates are like little billboards running around the state of Texas advertising your company," My Plates spokeswoman Kim Drummond said.

My Plates has sold 489 corporate plates since it started producing specialty plates for Texas in November 2009. Most of the sales were within the last year. Their sale has raised $51,805 for the state's general revenue fund, Drummond said.

Illinois already offers more than 70 specialty plates that do everything from honor the military to promote colleges and nonprofits.

The bill is SB1360.