Are Special ‘Blackout’ Plates Headed To Minnesota This Year?
You might soon have a new, much darker way to show your vehicle that is registered here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
There have been several stories written about various parts of Gov. Tim Walz's budget proposal, which was released a few weeks ago in January. You've likely heard about how you could possibly get a $1,000 rebate check. Or maybe about how vehicle registration tab fees might be increasing next year. (Both of those items are included in the proposal.)
Special 'blackout' license plates could be coming to Minnesota
But here's a new part of that proposed plan that I hadn't heard about until now, and it also has to do with vehicle registration: Special 'blackout' license plates could be coming to the North Star State.
You've probably noticed those all-black plates on cars from our neighbors to the south in Iowa. The Iowa Department of Transportation first started issuing those special all-black license plates with white letters back in July 2019. Since then, they've become incredibly popular. (This WOWT-TV story says they're Iowa's most popular license plate.) Special blackout plates are also available in Colorado and Mississippi.
How much will new Minnesota specialty blackout license plates cost?
Of course, much like any specialty license plate, those blackout plates come with an extra fee. The Iowa DOT says there's a $35 initial fee along with an extra $10 fee when you renew your registration to put those blackout plates on your vehicle. They've generated over $30 million in extra fees in the nearly four years they've been available.
And those extra fees apparently caught Gov. Walz's attention, so much that he included a proposal to create a special blackout license plate here in Minnesota as well. And, yes, they would also come with an extra fee. His proposal calls for a $30 initial fee for the blackout plate along with extra yearly fees too.
According to MPR, Gov. Walz (who rankled a few feathers when he Tweeted that the Iowa blackout license plates are the 'one thing Iowa got right' last month) estimates that those special blackout plates could generate just under $5 million dollars a year which would be used to improve general vehicle services operations.
When will Minnesota's specialty blackout license plates be available?
Minnesota already *has* over 100 other specialty plates, and much like those plates, these new blackout license plates would need the approval of the state Legislature, MPR noted. And since design work on the blackout plates wouldn't start until the proposal passes, so it might be some time before you can put one on your vehicle.