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Hike in Specialty-Tag Fee Hurts Non-Profits

7:06 PM, Jan 8, 2013   |    comments
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You see them for local charities and for statewide causes like pet adoption. We're talking about specialty tags, and just a few years ago lawmakers voted to increase the renewal fee on them.

What you may not know is that increased amount doesn't go to the non-profit organization the tag is supporting. 13WMAZ's Jennifer Moulliet sat down with the president of a local non-profit to see what they're doing to get that money back.

Jeff McAfee and his family started the Joanna McAfee Childhood Cancer Foundation after their little girl lost her battle to cancer in 2005.  And their specialty tag features Joanna's silhouette.

"We're so appreciative of the fact that the state did allow us to apply for a tag and go through the process. We're so appreciative to the one thousand people that had to register for the tag before it became available, " says McAfee.  
 
He says about five thousand people statewide have Joanna tags on their cars, but since the state raised its price, the number of people applying for those tags have gone down.

"The price of the renewal of the tag went up from twenty-five dollars to thirty-five dollars, as a result of that people started turning their tags back in," says McAfee.  

He estimates the foundation has lost about $12,000.  The state now takes in twenty-five dollars on each tag, and the Joanna McAfee Foundation sees only ten.

"So the state is actually benefiting more than they did before, but the non profits are seeing no additional revenue as a result of the increase," says McAfee. 

So he wrote a letter to State Representative Willie Talton, who he says will draft a bill and introduce it to the house, and Senator Ross Tolleson says he'll back it.

"That money could have a positive impact on the issue of childhood cancer, and I think that's more important than anything," says Tolleson.  

McAfee says he hopes Georgia will take the approach Alabama did, "Alabama charges a $50 renewal fee for their tag and $8.75 goes to the state and the other $41.25 goes back to the nonprofit."

State Rep. Willie Talton, a Warner Robins Republican, plans to introduce legislation next week that would allocate more specialty tags money to the non-profit organizations that support them. It's also supported by state Republican Sen. Ross Tolleson of Perry, who plans to discuss the proposal with Gov. Nathan Deal.

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