Biloxi lighthouse featured on new Miss. license plate

Published 5:14 pm Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The Biloxi lighthouse will be featured on Mississippi’s new license plate design, replacing the state flower, the magnolia.

Starting Oct. 1, new tags will be issued when people buy or renew their license plates. The state now issues about 2.1 million tags.

By law, the design has to change every five years — a move intended to make it easier for officials to catch drivers who aren’t paying their taxes to renew their tags.

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State Tax Commission spokeswoman Kathy Waterbury said this is the first time any symbol except the magnolia has been used on the regular Mississippi tags. Symbols for universities and other entities appear on specialty tags that cost more.

“Obviously, the lighthouse is a historical landmark for the state,” she said. “But it is also symbolic of surviving (Hurricane) Katrina and resilience. We felt it had to be daybreak, sunrise on a new day.”

The tax commission referred to the lighthouse as “a tangible testament of resilience.”

Using the lighthouse was the idea of state tax commissioner Joe Blount.

“This tag design is intended to be a reminder to us of all those who lost so much from Katrina, (and) to serve as a symbol of our citizens’ commitment to recovery as well as a symbol of our gratitude to all Americans for their prayers and generous support,” Blount said.

The state will spend more than $3 million for up to 2.5 million new tags, to be produced as needed over the next five years, Waterbury said.

The cost of each is $1.53. Drivers will pay a one-time charge of $1.25 at tag renewal time, according to a article.