Colorado State Archives
Executive Orders from the Administration of Governor Bill Owens 1999-2005
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I am filing with the Secretary of State Senate Bill 05-082, "Concerning the creation of a Colorado "Kids First" special license plate." I vetoed this bill as of 9:23 a.m. today, and this letter sets forth my reasons for doing so.
Senate Bill 82 would establish a new "Kids First" special license plate, when at least 3,000 people commit to purchase the plate. I have no objection to adding such a license plate to the many other specialty license plates available to Colorado. Indeed, such a plate could serve a worthwhile cause and send a very positive signal about how Colorado values our children and their protection.
The plate would be available to applicants who pay an additional one-time fee of $25 and can show proof that a minimum donation was made to a health promotion and injury prevention fund at the Rocky Mountain Research and Prevention Institute (RMRPI).
My concern is that Senate Bill 82 contains almost nonexistent financial accountability provisions and would entrust substantial amounts of dollars obtained through the sale of license plates to a single group.
The Institute would be responsible for certifying eligibility for the plates and then would design the plate. The bill is silent about how the funds generated by the purchase of the "Kids First" plan are to be spent, leaving discretion solely in the hands of a steering committee appointed by the Institute's board. Moreover, the Institute has stated that it plans to allow unnamed third-party organizations to sell the license plates as a fundraising activity and those organizations would retain up to one-third of the fees generated. There is no public oversight of this activity, nor is there any indication of whether these groups to be chosen solely by the Institute -- are ones that are appropriate for state government to sanction.
There are also no limitations in the bill regarding allowable administrative costs that the Institute can retain. While it is customary for organizations that receive state grants or oversees state grants to retain 5 percent of less for overhead, this bill permits the institute to retain more than 16 percent.
With the exception of a biannual report to Legislature's Joint Budget Committee, the bill lacks any oversight provisions to ensure that the expenditures by the Institute steering committee actually serve the intended causes.
I am aware that the state has a number of specialty license plates that may have similar processes for use of funds generated by the sale of these plates. The provisions of this bill raise concerns not only about the proposed "Kids First" plate, but about other specialty plates. Therefore, I have ordered the state Department of Revenue to conduct a thorough review of each of the specialty plate programs and report back to me on the adequacy of accountability safeguards that are in place. In addition, the Department will make recommendations about improvements that may be necessary to strengthen transparency and accountability.
With the result of this review in place, I hope to sign legislation in the 2006 legislation that will improve our specialty plate program and allow for the creation of a "Kids First" plate in Colorado.
Accordingly, I have vetoed this bill.
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