Friday, September 24, 1999

Lawmaker says state profiting illegally from license plates

The Associated Press

        FRANKFORT — They cost only $1.45 to make, so common they are usually overlooked and may be at the center of a constitutional confrontation.

        State Rep. Pete Worthington, chairman of the Budget Review Subcommittee on Transportation, accused officials Thursday of ignoring legislative orders and flaunting the Kentucky Constitution by making a profit on the plates.

        Vehicle Regulation Commissioner Ed Logsdon then said the state is losing millions in revenue because the plates are not changed often enough.

        The plates are made by inmates at the Kentucky State Reformatory. Kentucky Correctional Industries, which employs prison labor, charges the Transportation Cabinet $1.69 for each passenger plate, 24 cents more than the cost of production. Correctional Industries gets no tax money and keeps operating by making sales.

        That's the rub, Mr. Worthington said.

        The constitution requires that money from the Road Fund must go only toward transportation-related expenses. Further, Mr. Worthington said the 1998 budget directed that no profits be made on the sale of license plates.


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